Analytical Imaging and Modeling Center: What to Expect

When you visit the Analytical Imaging and Modeling (AIM) Center at Children’s, an imaging specialist will welcome you and provide you with an overview of the imaging procedure planned for your child. Parents or guardians can accompany the patient to the imaging lab.

All images are obtained in a private lab, and one patient is scanned at a time. Appointments at the AIM Center may vary in length depending on the imaging employed and protocol used.

  • 3D Surface Scan


    During a 3-D surface scan the patient will enter a booth that contains several cameras to obtain the images needed. The patient will be asked to remove clothing, jewelry accessories or makeup depending on the anatomy being imaged.

    If an image of the head or face is needed, a cap made of thin stocking-type material will be placed on the patient’s head to flatten the hair, as this may interfere with image accuracy.

    Once the patient is ready, images will be taken. The scanning lasts less than one second. During this time, a flash, like one from a regular picture camera, will produce light, and all the cameras will take the images instantly.

    Depending on the clinical or research need for imaging, the patient may be asked to perform a task such as creating a particular facial expression, like smiling or posing in a neutral facial expression. Multiple images might be taken with various tasks.

    The procedure takes approximately five minutes. Once all the images are captured, the patient will be escorted to the main lobby.

  • 3-D surface motion capture


    The 3-D surface motion capture imaging procedure takes approximately 10 minutes. The videos are captured in a brightly lit area of the imaging studio. The imaging specialist will inform the patient to perform different tasks (e.g. facial expressions, talking or moving parts of the body such as the hand). There may be multiple “takes” required to capture the desired images.

  • Kinematic motion capture


    In order to capture movements during kinematic motion capture, markers are placed on the patient’s skin using tape similar to that used for medical purposes. The process is painless, and the markers can easily be removed.

    The markers cannot be placed on clothing. Therefore, we recommend that you bring shorts and a bathing suit to the appointment.

    We will ask the patient to walk several times to obtain the best recordings. The process can be challenging for some patients, but we will work with you to assure that the process is as comfortable as possible.

    The process may take up to two hours. Parents are allowed to stay with the patient the entire time but siblings will not be allowed in the lab during this time.