Kitware Receives $1.07 Million in Stimulus Funds to Further Innovation in the Renowned Insight Toolkit (ITK)

Kitware today announced it has received a $1.07 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to improve the Insight Segmentation and Registration Toolkit (ITK). A dynamic, self-sustaining, cross-platform, and open source application development framework, ITK is used freely in a multitude of commercial and non-commercial image segmentation and registration programs. Kitware’s proposal will go towards lowering the learning curve for researchers and developers, and incorporating innovative high-performance computing technologies, while maintaining the toolkit’s versatility and industry-leading capabilities.

Created with funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, with program management provided by the National Library of Medicine, ITK is an established foundation for medical imaging research and the distribution of advanced imaging solutions. Kitware, one of the original ITK development teamss 10 years ago, is now one of the six institutes charged with revising ITK’s architecture to meet growing demand from the research community for a simplified user experience and increased support for high-performance computing.

As part of its effort, Kitware will also modernize ITK’s collaborative software development infrastructure and software engineering processes. This work will extend Kitware’s web-based tools for collaborative development to support the development and distribution of modular extensions to ITK. These extensions will offer specialized features for targeted applications, such as video processing for endoscopy applications, blur reduction algorithms for microscopy applications, and data and trial management capabilities for clinical research organizations.

ITK, which began as part of the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project, has earned broad acceptance within academia and industry. Over 1800 ITK users include members of nearly every major medical image research center including Johns Hopkins, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Carnegie Mellon, the Mayo Clinic and Stanford. ITK has fostered the growth of many end-user research applications such as 3D Slicer, Osirix, XIP, OpenMAF, Analyze, MevisLab and MedINRIA. ITK’s unrestrictive license has also encouraged its use at many of the major medical device manufacturers such as Siemens, GE and Philips.

ITK has been utilized to produce many pioneering applications. For example, it is used in an interactive EEG analysis platform that is capable of revealing spatial correlations within the brain. In 3D Slicer, ITK is used for planning neurosurgeries by providing methods for computing the path of nerve fibers in the brain as recorded by diffusion tensor MRI and registering those paths with 3D models of tumors segmented from contrast enhance MRI.

Throughout this project, Kitware will maintain its philosophy of providing tested and documented, high quality, open-source code using unrestrictive licenses. Subsequent commercial and academic use will continue to be encouraged through collaborative grants and Kitware’s consulting services.

About The Insight Segmentation and Registration Toolkit (ITK)
ITK is an open-source, cross-platform system that provides developers with an extensive suite of software tools for image analysis. Developed through extreme programming methodologies, ITK employs leading-edge algorithms for registering and segmenting multi-dimensional data.

ITK was originally developed by six principal organizations, three commercial (Kitware, GE Corporate R&D, and Insightful) and three academic (UNC Chapel Hill, University of Utah, and University of Pennsylvania). Additional team members include Harvard’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital, University of Pittsburgh, and Columbia University. The original $13.5M in funding was organized by the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

At Kitware, ITK development and continued maintenance has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institutes of Health (NLM, NIDCR, NIMH, NEI, NINDS, NIDCD, NCI), the NSF, the Airforce Research Labs, and the DoD (TATRC).


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