What is BrainBrowser?

BrainBrowser is a set of web-based 3D visualization tools primarily used for viewing neurological data, such as MRI scans. It allows for real-time manipulation and analysis of 3D neuroimaging data through any modern web browser. BrainBrowser dynamically loads only those parts of the dataset currently being viewed by the user.

Surface and Volume Viewer

BrainBrowser has two main components, the Surface Viewer and the Volume Viewer. The Surface Viewer is a 3D viewer which can display 3D surfaces in real-time and map various types of data to them. It is possible to overlay color data representing different information about the surface (e.g. cortical thickness, correlations, etc.). Intuitive mouse and touch controls can be used to rotate, pan and zoom.

The BrainBrowser Volume Viewer allows users to navigate 3D or 4D MINC structural or functional MRI volume data. The Volume Viewer simultaneously displays slices along the sagittal, transverse and coronal planes, and the viewer can navigate along each dimension. A volume’s intensity data can be visualized in various ways by applying different colour maps. When dealing with 4D functional data, the Volume Viewer can navigate along the time dimension as well.

Technical Features

BrainBrowser is an open source JavaScript library. The Surface Viewer is a WebGL based viewer and the Volume Viewer is a HTML5 canvas-based viewer. Since BrainBrowser uses these open source web-standard technologies, only a recent web browser is required to use it. No local installation of software or plugins is required.



Click to launch Surface Viewer


Click to launch Volume Viewer

Visit BrainBrowser Website


Additional Features


  • Can display 3D surfaces from a variety of surface file formats used in neuroimaging, including MNI OBJ, Freesurfer binary, Freesurfer ASC, and Wavefront OBJ.
  • Can be easily modified to handle new data formats, standards and requirements.
  • Can be used to visualize local or remote data.
  • Designed for neuroimaging, but easily applicable to other domains.
  • Easy to integrate into any web-based platform.
  • Used in two major online platforms, CBRAIN and LORIS.


Collaboration and Sharing of Data

BrainBrowser’s integration into the standardized web platform also allows users to use 3D data visualization in novel ways, such as for data distribution and sharing.


Tarek Sherif, Nicolas Kassis, Marc-Étienne Rousseau, Reza Adalat, and Alan C. Evans BrainBrowser: distributed, web-based neurological data visualization Front Neuroinform. 2014; 8:89 doi:10.3389/fninf.2014.00089