Please note that the article reflects the technological state of 2015.
In the future interactive 3D content may play an increasingly important role in the internet and also in offline applications. The biggest obstacle has been the missing of a commonly accepted standards with contemporary technology which also has an adequate distribution. Through the establishment of WebGL in HTML5, a non-proprietary 3D standard is introduced that can be used without any plugins in any modern browser.
To use WebGL there are a number of tools and engines available. Some time ago we dealt with the possibilities of Sketchfab, a web service that allows a simple way to visualize 3D data in WebGL. Sketchfab is mainly a pure data viewer, interaktion is somehow limited. Also the models are attached to a web service and can not me used stand-alone or offline.
With the liberalization of their license conditions and the integration of WebGL/html5 Unity3D was becoming a very interesting tool. Unity is actually a game engine, a development environment for games. Through it´s possibilities two write own code and scripts and then export the application for different devices (PC, Mac, web, consoles, mobile) the possibilities are virtually unlimited. Also Unity is not a web service, therefore you have full control over the created application.
As a simple test object for an interactive, medical application, we chose a human heart, which should be freely explorable in the app. In addition, we built a simple functionality to emphasize anatomical structures – in this particular case there is an option to remove the coronary vessels and to open a part of the heart to look into the ventricles. This is a simple example of the possibilities of interactivity 3D Models.
The application was exported for the web in two formats. Version 1 uses the Unity plugin, which is available for all major browsers. Version2 uses WebGL / Html5 and can be used without any plugin on every modern browser.
Link to webGL App human heart with unity.