In today’s article, we are going to consider practical real-life ways the application of computer graphics employed in various industries has saved lives (literally and figuratively) and resources i.e time, energy, and money.
To provide a bit of background information, ‘Computer Graphics is a branch of computer science that deals with the generation of images with the aid of computers… It is a core technology in digital photography, film, video games, cell phones, computer displays, and graphic design in general.
A lot of people recognize the applications of computer graphics mostly in video games, films, and artwork. Here are other crucial areas computer graphics is being utilized:
Consider the amazing real-life stories of two people (names changed for privacy) where computer graphics in the medical field saved their lives.
‘Sarah James had noticed lumps in her left breast several years ago. She had had several mammograms, but this time was different. During her last annual check-up, her radiologist had noticed several tiny, lumps which seems non-cancerous. He ordered several additional mammograms, an ultrasound, and an MRI scan. Following the information provided by images generated from these procedures, he was able to make a diagnosis of Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (that’s just a medical fancy word for breast cancer). Sarah was able to commence treatments and has now been five years free of all cancer growths’.
‘Camilla Brown was a retired nurse who went to have her lung screening test done. She was 65 years and had been a habitual smoker for decades. ‘I’ve never had any major symptoms from smoking but my doctor insisted I go for the CT scan. That 10 second CT saved my life, she said. Camilla was called back in for another more invasive procedure and it was discovered she had lung cancer. Luckily for her, it was caught very early, and after having one surgery she was given a clean bill of health. ‘Thank God for modern advancements in science and technology. The story would have been totally downhill had this happened to me 30 years ago, she laughed.
Computer graphics play a huge, significant role in the medical profession. It is used in various aspects such as diagnosis (as portrayed in the stories above), procedures, training, pre-operative planning, and telemedicine. Whereas in traditional medical learning, there will have been lots of practice and dissections on actual human tissue (alive or cadavers) to correctly learn the human anatomy, computer graphics has now provided 3D models and simulations for learning that can be easily explored and interacted with. Medical Animations are also used as an instructional tool for medical professionals and their patients. These are short educational films usually based on medical topics, rendered using 3D computer graphics.
IN MILITARY DEFENCE
Military training is obviously risky, but simulator training can drastically reduce that risk. A CNN report, ‘High-Tech War Games Help Save Lives’ published in 2010 noted that nearly four times as much military personnel died in training accidents as in actual combat. These were soldiers killed in accidental air mishaps, botched ship maneuvers, vehicle crashes, and fires. But with increased simulator training which relies heavily on 3D computer graphics, risks of injuries are greatly reduced, and it creates more opportunities to train on much more complex and dangerous tasks. A soldier (name withheld) said ‘In a simulated training environment, you can hit the reset button when you make a mistake and try again. In real life, there is none. Simulator training also saves time, money and improves combat readiness.
In today’s world of technological advancements, architects and construction planners are using architectural visualization to create their vision and present it in a way that clients can easily comprehend. The use of computer graphics in architecture can present a potential house-owner with a real-life view of what a building will look like even before the foundation is laid. This is done using a process called 3D Rendering. It is a technique used to graphically present a 3D model of a building/structure using computer animation. It gives the constructor or client a photo-realistic view of the interior and exterior of a proposed building. This helps in evaluating the safety of a building by eliminating design flaws, upscaling or downsizing a design, and testing its sustainability under different environmental conditions.
In all business ventures, speed and accuracy matter a lot, and all product-creators are actively looking for quicker and more precise methods to demonstrate how their products function to customers in a clear and attractive manner. Manufacturing companies use computer-generated 3D animation for product modeling, which creates prototypes of products and test them for flaws i.e technical glitches and engineering defects, before launching them to the general market. This helped to eliminate errors which might lead to injuries from use of faulty equipment, increase marketing and sales and reduce long-term manufacturing costs.
Education is a base for a thriving society and in this era of digital devices, technology can help us enable better, faster, more efficient learning. Virtual Reality (VR) is being used to transform the way educational content is being delivered. VR is the computer-generated simulation of a 3D image or environment that can be interacted with in a real/physical way by a person or people, using special electronic equipment such as a helmet with a fitted screen or gloves fitted with sensors. This technology is still being developed yet it shows huge potentials in facilitating immersive learning, particularly in people who have learning difficulties.
The application of computer graphics in different sectors of the economy will continue to become more popular even as technological advancements increase. Computer graphics in automobiles save lives every single day. Modern cars are beginning to use computer graphics to present real-time data in a more visual way to drivers. For example, a heads-up display allows drivers to see and interpret info in front of them on their windshields. This reduces the risk of distractions and ultimately accidents, from looking at the dashboards. Lots of other developments are underway, and we will only be marveled at how visual and graphical information would become in the next decade.