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09 May 2024

Gaussian Splatting Allows Industries to Effectively Visualize and Analyze Complex Data For Better Decision-Making and Enhanced Outcomes

By Bobby Carlton

Good chance you’re hearing a lot of conversation around a technology called Gaussian splatting (or splats) along with the latest advancements in NeRFs and technologies revolutionizing 3D scene rendering. With many industries pumping immense interest in these tools within the community, with professionals eager to explore their fundamentals, applications, and future implications.

Understanding Gaussian splatting requires starting at the basics. Introduced less than a year ago, this 3D rendering technique offers accelerated scene viewing speeds without relying on neural networks. Essentially, it involves transforming a series of images into a sparse point cloud via structure-from-motion, followed by converting each point into overlapping Gaussian splats. A training process employing gradient descent fills in additional details, culminating in the creation of a final mesh. Despite its early stage, Gaussian splatting is already showing promise in various sectors.

Real-world applications for NeRFs and Gaussian splats, particularly in field operations, have been relatively scarce, however, this landscape is evolving very quickly. Last year, Alteia, a French company, showcased their utilization of NeRFs in specific infrastructure inspection workflows. Meanwhile, recent social media activity highlights increasing exploration of Gaussian splats, indicating a growing trend set to continue in the coming years in multiple ways.

For example:

  1. Scientific Visualization: Gaussian splatting is extensively used in visualizing complex scientific datasets such as fluid dynamics simulations, molecular structures, and astronomical data.
  2. Medical Imaging: In medical imaging, Gaussian splatting is employed for visualizing volumetric datasets obtained from various imaging modalities like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CT (Computed Tomography), and PET (Positron Emission Tomography).
  3. Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Gaussian splatting is utilized in GIS applications for visualizing and analyzing spatial data such as terrain models, satellite imagery, and geographic datasets.
  4. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): Gaussian splatting techniques are employed in VR and AR environments for rendering realistic scenes and immersive experiences, particularly when dealing with large-scale or highly detailed environments that can be used for training, games, and movies.
  5. Computer-Aided Design (CAD): Gaussian splatting finds applications in CAD software for visualizing complex 3D models and architectural designs.
  6. Remote Sensing: In remote sensing applications, Gaussian splatting is used for processing and visualizing data collected from satellites and other remote sensing platforms to study Earth’s surface and environmental changes.
  7. Weather Simulation and Forecasting: Gaussian splatting techniques can be applied in weather visualization systems to render meteorological data and simulate weather phenomena for forecasting purposes.

Gaussian splats are useful tools when it comes to rendering and visualizing complicated data sets in industries where efficient computation and accuracy are crucial.

Moreover, Gaussian Splatting has been instrumental in reconstructing scenes using external video sources. For example, individuals and organizations leveraging drone footage to recreate high-quality 3D scenes, such as the aftermath of the cargo ship collision with Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Through this process, first responders and engineers were able use a seven-minute video from the National Transportation Safety Board to generate a detailed 3D scene, offering better insights into structural integrity and damage assessment.

Gaussian splatting

Why Gaussian Splats Matter

The importance of Gaussian splatting advantages lies in their ability to address specific industry needs, ranging from accuracy and realism to efficiency and scalability. Through Gaussian splats, professionals in different sectors can effectively visualize and analyze complex data, leading to better decision-making and enhanced outcomes.

Smooth Representation:

  • A smooth representation of a data set is achieved by using Gaussian splats. This is especially useful in medical imaging, as it allows for the accurate diagnosis of complex conditions.

Efficient Rendering:

  • They can be rendered with ease in real-time applications, such as simulations and video games. The smooth representation of data sets is achieved through the use of Gaussian splats.

Natural Blending:

  • Gaussian splats naturally blend with neighboring splats, creating a visually pleasing effect. This property is beneficial in applications like architectural visualization or product design, where realistic rendering is crucial.

Adaptive Detailing:

  • With the ability to dynamically adjust the level of detail, Gaussian splats are versatile tools that can be used in various applications. For instance, they can be used to render large areas of space.

Noise Reduction:

  • In noise reduction, Gaussian splats help in minimizing artifacts and visual noise in rendered images, which results in a more aesthetically pleasing outcome. This is particularly beneficial in the areas of animation and film, where image quality is prized.

Scalability:

  • Due to their scalability, Gaussian splats are ideal for rendering large datasets, particularly those involved in climate modeling and GIS.

Flexible Representation:

  • Gaussian splats are versatile tools that can be used in various applications, such as scientific research. Their ability to accommodate diverse requirements makes them ideal for a wide range of industries.

Industries across the spectrum should be actively exploring the advantages of Gaussian splatting due to its transformative potential in data visualization and rendering. By leaning on Gaussian splats, industries are able to unlock a large number of cost saving benefits, including smoother representation of complex datasets, efficient rendering in real-time applications, and natural blending for enhanced realism.

Additionally, Gaussian splats offer adaptive detailing, noise reduction, scalability, and flexible representation, addressing key challenges faced in diverse sectors ranging from healthcare and architecture to gaming and environmental modeling.

Embracing Gaussian splatting provides businesses the ability to extract deeper insights from data, make more informed decisions, and ultimately, drive innovation and progress, and in an era where data is increasingly abundant and critical for decision-making, exploring the advantages of Gaussian splatting is imperative for staying competitive and pushing the boundaries of what is possible across various domains.

Reach out to us and lets explore how Gaussian splats can make a positive change in your business. Contact Bobby Carlton at bobby.carlton@fsstudio.com, or schedule a free consultation call with him through his Calendly link.