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Scope of Project


Cornerstone3D is a javascript library that enables 3D rendering of medical images using purely web standards. The library employs WebGL for GPU accelerated rendering whenever possible. Cornerstone3DTools is a peer library to Cornerstone3D and contains a number manipulation and annotations tools that are used to interact with the images.

The Cornerstone3D scope DOES NOT encompass dealing with image/volume loading and metadata parsing. The Cornerstone3D scope DOES include image rendering and caching. Proper image loaders should be registered TO the cornerstone3D using imageLoader.registerImageLoader and volumeLoader.registerVolumeLoader. Examples of such image loaders are wadors loader using cornerstoneWADOImageLoader for DICOM P10 instances over dicomweb and wadouri for the DICOM P10 instances over HTTP. With Cornerstone3D, we are releasing our first volumeLoader, streaming-image-volume-loader, that will be able to stream images of a volume one by one.

In addition, Cornerstone3D has a metadata registration mechanism that allows metadata parsers to be registered TO the Cornerstone3D using metaData.addProvider. Using cornerstoneWADOImageLoader, its image loaders and metadata providers self-register with the Cornerstone3D. You can always checkout the example helpers to see how an end-to-end example from metadata parsing to image loading and image rendering can be achieved.


Since Cornerstone3D and Cornerstone3DTools are written in Typescript, they provide a type-safe API. This means that you can use the library in a TypeScript environment and using type information, you can be assured that the parameters being passed to any method match what is expected.

Browser Support

Cornerstone3D uses the HTML5 canvas element and WebGL 2.0 GPU rendering to render images which is supported by all modern browsers. Advanced features such as volume streaming which uses SharedArrayBuffer to create a shared memory is not supported in all browsers. The following browsers are supported:

  • Chrome > 68
  • Firefox > 79
  • Edge > 79

If you are using an older browser, or don't have any graphics cards, your device might not be able to render volumetric images with Cornerstone3D. However, you can still render stack images using the CPU fallback that we have implemented in Cornerstone3D for such scenarios.


SharedArrayBuffer requires cross-origin-isolation in the browsers. This means that you cannot use it in a browser that is not cross-origin isolated. Read More

Monorepo hierarchy

Cornerstone3D is a monorepo that contains the following packages:

  • /packages/core: The core library responsible for rendering images and caching.
  • /packages/tools: The tool library for manipulation, annotation and segmentation rendering and tools.
  • /packages/streaming-image-volume-loader: For streaming the volumes into the viewport and progressively loading them.
  • /packages/docs: Documentation for all the packages including guides, examples, and API reference.

There are other Cornerstone affiliated packages (such as cornerstone-wado-image-loader) that are not included in this monorepo. In long term we are working to add them to this monorepo to have a single location for all packages. Having a monorepo helps us to:

  • Share validation and linting rules
  • Keep dependencies synced across all packages
  • Easier linking between packages which is often required for bug fixing and testing