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SkinExplorerTM: a new high-tech platform to interact inside the skin by immersive virtual 3D cutaneous environment



M. D. Vazquez-Duchêne

BASF Beauty Care Solutions SAS, Laboratoires Serobiologiques

CS 71040 Pulnoy

54272 Essey-lès-Nancy


Tel: +33 3 8329 9472

Fax: +33 3 8321 1215




The confocal laser scanning microscope allows performing acquisition of several histological sections with precise visual morphological landmarks and their reconstruction. A powerful and modern confocal microscope enables to quickly reconstruct virtual 3D models.


The main goal was to develop a new platform to reconstruct complex mosaic serial data, interact with it in an immersive 3D environment, and give to the observers a feeling of ‘presence’ inside the skin.


We have developed novel methods that transform the data into alternative representation, well-suited to explore cutaneous structures in detail and to observe fields of data from different points of view. This new way of data reconstruction in volume requires optimization of intensities, automatic matching algorithms and depth alignment.

Results and conclusion

The new platform – SkinExplorerTM evolves as a 3D exploration prototype. This technology provides an immersive virtual environment to explore cutaneous microstructures. Several serial histological sections can be matched by stacks, aligned in depth by sections and merged together to be visualized as a whole. All these time-consuming steps have been dramatically speed-up using rapid image processing. The advantages of using virtual reality technologies such as the ones used in the SkinExplorerTM platform are automatic matching, precise alignment, better data perception, lower memory requirement, and higher quantity of simultaneously displayed data. This platform can render volumetric data and isosurfaces, separately or both at the same time. Lighting and depth perception are enhanced using ‘Sphere Mapping’, ‘Ambient Occlusion’, and ‘Halo’ methods when displaying iso-surfacic volume models with high complexity depth. The assets of the platform are to interpret complex three-dimensional data, to observe and explore 3D virtual models, and to show effects of cosmetic treatments.