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Insight Toolkit

Collage of images showing examples of how the Insight Toolkit is used in surgical planning, biomedical image analysis, diagnosis, and treatment.
Project information
Researchers: 

The Insight Toolkit (ITK) project is developing a public, open-source library of leading-edge algorithms for the segmentation (image partitioning) and registration (image alignment) of high-dimensional biomedical image data.

ITK R&D: Fundamental improvements in the ITK software library are being made, in light of the current state of ITK and technological advances such as multi-core processors in laptop systems, larger memories, ubiquitous graphics processing units (GPUs), and consumer-grade parallel computing systems for array processing.

ITK applications R&D: Researchers are incorporating ITK code into software for medical and other applications:

  • Deconvolution methods for astronomy and astrophysics
  • Digital histology
  • Image registration for neurosurgery
  • Microscopy
  • Tumor micro-environments
  • Tumor volume measurement for lung cancer treatment
  • Video processing for security applications as well as healthcare
  • Zebrafish embryology

ITK adopters:

  • The National Alliance of Medical Image Computing (NA-MIC), an NIH Roadmap National Center for Biomedical Computing (NCBC) led by Harvard University, has adopted ITK and its software engineering practices as part of its engineering infrastructure.
  • ITK is the software foundation for the Image Guided Surgery Toolkit (IGSTK), an R&D program sponsored by the NIH National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and executed by Georgetown University’s Imaging Science and Information Systems (ISIS) Center.
  • The Image-Guided Surgery Toolkit (IGSTK) is pioneering an open application programming interface (API) for integrating robotics, image-guidance, image analysis, and surgical intervention.
  • International software packages that incorporate ITK include:
    •  Osirix, an open-source diagnostic radiological image viewing system developed through a research partnership between UCLA and the University of Geneva, Switzerland
    • The Orfeo Toolbox (OTB) from the Centre Nationale D’Etudes Spatiales, the French National Space Administration

ITK influences: ITK influences end-user applications through supplementing research platforms including:

  • Analyze – computational techniques for the display and analysis of multidimensional image data – from the Mayo Clinic
  • SCIRun, a problem solving environment for modeling, simulation, and visualization of scientific problems, from the University of Utah's Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute
  • The development of a new release of VolView, free software for medical volume image viewing and analysis

ITK project coordination: NLM and the ITK Project coordinate efforts of groups including:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • CoSmo Software
  • General Electric Global Research
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Kitware, Inc.
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Ohio State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute

About ITK and its software:

  • Can be run on Apple, Linux, and Windows
  • Comprises more than 845,000 lines of openly available source code
  • Subscribers to the ITK list-serve include more than 1,500 people from more than 40 countries, and representing a broad scientific community
  • Support, development, and maintenance provided through a consortium of university and commercial organizations and NLM/LHNCBC/OHPCC intramural research staff

For more information about ITK: Please visit itk.org for more information about ITK, including a technical summary, its history, current releases, training, and ITK projects.

Funding: FY 2010 and FY 2011 ITK efforts were funded through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (commonly known as the Stimulus).

Publications/Tools: 
Yaniv Z, Lowekamp B, Johnson HJ, Beare R. SimpleITK Image-Analysis Notebooks: a Collaborative Environment for Education and Reproducible Research. J Digit Imaging. 2018 Jun;31(3):290-303. doi: 10.1007/s10278-017-0037-8.
Lowekamp BC, Chen DT, Ibáñez L, Blezek D. The Design of SimpleITK. Front Neuroinform. 2013 Dec 30;7:45. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2013.00045. eCollection 2013.
Lowekamp B, Chen D. BinShrink: A multi-resolution filter with cache efficient averaging. Insight Journal. Web. 18 November 2013
Lowekamp B, Chen D. A Streaming IO Base Class and Support for Streaming the MRC and VTK File Format. Insight Journal. Web. 2010 Jun 9.
Lowekamp B, Chen D. A Framework for Improved Regression Testing Based Upon CTest and CDash. The Insight Journal. Web. 2009 Jul-Dec.
Lowekamp B, Chen D, Santoroski J, Yaniv Z, Yoo TS. Software: SimpleITK.
Lowekamp B. IO Streaming in ITK. Kitware Source. 2009 Apr;9:5-7.
Yoo TS. The Insight Toolkit: An Open-Source Initiative in Data Segmentation and Registration. In: Johnson C, Hansen C, editors. The Visualization Handbook. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2005. p. 733-48.
Yoo TS, Ackerman MJ. Open Source Software for Medical Image Processing and Visualization. Communications of the ACM. 2005 Feb;48(2):55-9. DOI:10.1145/1042091.1042120.
Yoo TS, editor. Insight Into Images: Principles and Practice for Segmentation, Registration, and Image Analysis. Natick, Massachusetts: A.K. Peters; 2004 Aug 16. 410 pages.

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