The History of MeVisLab

MeVisLab was originally created and developed by Fraunhofer MEVIS (formerly MeVis Research GmbH). In more than 20 years of development, MeVisLab has become one of the most powerful development platforms for medical image computing research.

Since the transfer of MeVisLab to MeVis Medical Solutions AG in 2008, the further development and advancement of MeVisLab as well as the communication with the MeVisLab user community is pursued as a joint effort between MeVis Medical Solutions and Fraunhofer MEVIS.


The roots of MeVisLab reach back to the year 1993. For works on medical image processing at the Center for Complex Systems and Visualization (CeVis) at the University of Bremen, the image processing library Image Vision Library (IL) by manufacturer Silicon Graphics (SGI) was used.

The idea of being able to interactively connect the IL image processing algorithms led to the development of the ILAB1 software, offering an intuitive concept for loading, processing, and visualizing medical image data.


In the subsequent versions ILAB2 and ILAB3, the 3D visualization library Open Inventor and the scripting language Tcl were integrated by researchers at the newly founded research institute MeVis Center for Medical Diagnostic Systems and Visualization GmbH (1995).

In addition, the proprietary scripting environment APrIL offered the possibility to implement medical software applications, for example the first version of the software HepaVision for liver surgery planning. Parts of the ILAB software were made available publicly for users of SGI workstations.


With the start of the large German multi-center project VICORA in the year 2000, new requirements were defined with respect to software design, interfaces, and portability.

With a new structure and a consistent focus on flexibility, the next version ILAB4 offered extensive support for user interface design and scripting integration. The IL library was substituted by the platform-independent ML (MeVis Library) so that ILAB4 could be used on Windows systems.

MeVisLab 1.0

The next version in 2002 once again introduced a change in the internal software architecture and the migration to the application framework Qt by Trolltech (now owned by Digia).

The research and development platform, now under the name of MeVisLab and available for Windows and Linux, was published in 2004 with a dedicated website and is now used by research institutions and commercial companies all over the world.

For details on all MeVisLab releases, see the News.