Stone of Orthanc

Lightweight, cross-platform C++ framework for the CPU-based rendering of medical images.



Stone of Orthanc is a lightweight, cross-platform C++ toolkit for the CPU-based rendering of medical images. It notably features support for MPR (multiplanar reconstruction of volume images), PET-CT fusion, and accurate physical world coordinates. Stone of Orthanc is not a fully-featured DICOM viewer, but rather a building block to create such applications.


Stone of Orthanc is similar in spirit to two other well-known toolkits:

  • Cornerstone by Chris Hafey, a client-side JavaScript toolkit to display medical images in Web browsers. However, contrarily to Cornerstone, Stone of Orthanc is written in C++, and can be embedded into native, heavyweight applications.
  • VTK by Kitware, a C++ toolkit for scientific visualization. However, contrarily to VTK that relies on graphics processing units (GPU), Stone of Orthanc is entirely focused on software-based rendering. Within Stone, 3D volumes are handled as sets of 2D slices. This might make Stone easier to use.

Stone of Orthanc comes bundled with its own software-based rendering engine (based upon cairo). This engine will use CPU hardware acceleration if available (notably the SSE2, SSSE3, and NEON instruction sets), but not the GPU. This makes Stone a highly versatile framework that can run even on low-performance platforms. Stone is able to display DICOM series without having to entirely store them in the RAM.


The code of the Stone of Orthanc is licensed under the Affero General Public License (AGPL). Pay attention to the fact that this license is more restrictive than the license of the Orthanc core.


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