Brain imaging software NeuroLens uses Mac OS X to display three-dimensional images used to identify regions of brain activity.

Application developer Rick Hoge chose to develop the software for use on a Mac for a number of reasons. "The Apple platform is the largest installed base of any UNIX variant," he told Apple.

"In addition, it is extremely prevalent in the life sciences, and increasing in popularity and in adoptions in neuroimaging labs. It was perfect for what we needed to accomplish.

"Apple has a strong commitment to consumer-oriented systems that are easy to use, and we needed a program that eliminated the need for users to learn advanced UNIX concepts. In addition, many life sciences folks have Macs already, and UNIX was familiar to the developers.”

Ease of use

It's not only those who will use the application that will benefit from the ease of use of the Mac operating system. Hoge praised the simplicity of the tools he used in its development.

“We were extremely impressed with the Mac OS X development tools. We ran through Cocoa tutorials initially and found them remarkable – in relatively short order I went from having nothing to having a complicated application, with very little effort on my part. I realized then that I could write a complicated imaging application with little work and taking advantage of the extremely fast performance of the OS, as well as its graphics and multimedia capabilities.”

NeuroLens is currently available in public beta. The application is targeted specifically at the research community, who works with large data sets—neurologists, biologists, and neuropsychologists, all doing basic research on brain function.

Apple has posted a case study on the development of the NeuroLens application. Apple writes: "A Mac is a powerful and versatile tool in the life sciences – from the UNIX core of Mac OS X and the power of the G5 processor, to the Xcode Tools and the Mac’s native graphics capabilities. It’s a platform that lets researchers focus on their work instead of learning programming and waiting for results."