Into the Next Dimension: Researchers Develop 4-D Computer Image of Human Body

Article

Imagine a world in which a patient's diagnostic results can be merged into one image in one place so that all specialists who see that patient can work together more closely, cadavers aren't needed...

Imagine a world in which a patient’s diagnostic results can be merged into one image in one place so that all specialists who see that patient can work together more closely, cadavers aren’t needed as teaching tools, surgeries can be easily practiced until a technique is perfected, and patients can easily gain a strong understanding of their own condition.

These possibilities may soon become realities thanks to researchers at the Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine. Following a request from massage therapy teachers at a company in Red Deer, Canada, for a more intricate picture of the muscles and bones of the human body—researchers created CAVEman, a four-dimensional computer image that contains more than 3,000 distinct body parts and provides “the most detailed model of a human yet.” Viewable in a $5.5 million three-dimensional virtual reality booth known as the “CAVE,” CAVEman creates images that display height, width, and depth, and also track the passage of time (the fourth dimension). “Today, this kind of model is unique in the world. It’s the only one that is complete,” said Christoph Sensen, director of the medical school’s Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics. “We have components of models. We could make this thing with 50 different brains because everybody makes their own brain model. What we didn’t have was a whole, complete body.”

Wearing 3-D glasses, physicians can use a joystick to manipulate the high-resolution views of the inner workings of the body—which appear to float within arm’s reach—by using remote controls to rotate and focus on specific body parts—including the skin, bones, muscles, organs, and veins—through the layering of patient scans, such as MRIs, CT scans, and x-rays. Viewers appear to travel farther into the body, the closer the image gets. “We say that killing monsters is fun, but curing cancer is more important,” Andrei Turinsky, a mathematician and computer scientist, said as he moved the model around using a joystick during a presentation of the system in Calgary on May 23.

At a cost between C$500,000 and C$2 million—“it’s very hard to guess, because it has taken many years, especially in Red Deer, with at least one or two artists constantly employed,” said Sensen—CAVEman will also help researchers study the genetics of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, according to its creators. “We want to do this so any patient can walk up to a machine with a surgeon in tow who says, ‘This is what it looked like six weeks ago and this is what it looked like today. You better get surgery now.’”

The researchers plan to develop versions of CAVEman to sell to hospitals across the globe and are also working to add a touch element to the images generated by the system.

View technical highlights and a detailed description of the CAVE and try your hand at manipulating the CAVEman.

Click here to view images of CAVEman, thanks to the Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics website.

* $1 (Canadian) = ~ $0.95 (American)

Related Videos
Video 10 - "Future Treatment Landscape for COPD"
Video 9 - "Emerging Treatment Approaches in COPD"
A panel of 4 experts on HIV
A panel of 4 experts on HIV
Kelly Nichols, OD; Laura Periman, MD; and Mile Brujic, OD
What Makes JAK Inhibitors Safe in Dermatology
Potential JAK Inhibitor Combination Regimens in Dermatology
Therapies in Development for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
"Prednisone without Side Effects": The JAK Inhibitor Ceiling in Dermatology
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.