Part of the Multimedia and graphics glossary:

A voxel is a unit of graphic information that defines a point in three-dimensional space. Since a pixel (picture element) defines a point in two dimensional space with its x and y coordinates , a third z coordinate is needed. In 3-D space, each of the coordinates is defined in terms of its position, color, and density. Think of a cube where any point on an outer side is expressed with an x , y coordinate and the third, z coordinate defines a location into the cube from that side, its density, and its color. With this information and 3-D rendering software, a two-dimensional view from various angles of an image can be obtained and viewed at your computer.

Medical practitioners and researchers are now using images defined by voxels and 3-D software to view X-rays, cathode tube scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from different angles, effectively to see the inside of the body from outside. Geologists can create 3-D views of earth profiles based on sound echoes. Engineers can view complex machinery and material structures to look for weaknesses.

This was last updated in May 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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