Students virtually dissect hologram-like 3-D cadaver

Mar 26, 2014 by Laura Bailey
Dental residents virtually dissect this 3D cadaver, which is anatomically correct. Credit: Laura Bailey

(Phys.org) —The 3-D virtual reality cadaver floats in space like a hologram on an invisible gurney.

University of Michigan 3-D Lab employee Sean Petty stands a few inches away. Petty wears special glasses and pilots a joystick to arbitrarily slice away sections of the cadaver. He enlarges and turns the body for a better view of the detailed anatomy inside.

Alexandre DaSilva, assistant professor at the U-M School of Dentistry, called the virtual reality cadaver the opportunity of a lifetime for himself and for his dental students, residents and doctoral students working with the technology.

"The first time I saw the technology I almost cried," said DaSilva, who also heads the Headache and Orofacial Pain Effort at U-M Dentistry and the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute. "In my wildest dream, I never thought that this would be possible."

The 3-D model supplements traditional anatomy class in several ways, DaSilva said. For instance, the residents can back up and redo cuts, and also enlarge areas to see them more closely.

"When you really immerse in the 3-D image, you can use all your senses," said Thiago Nascimento, a postdoctoral student in DaSilva's research lab. "It blew my mind."

MIDEN employee dissects the 3D cadaver. Credit: Laura Bailey

Researchers at the U-M Medical School Visible Human Project had already layered the cadaver into very thin sections. The group shared the anatomical data with Petty and 3-D Lab colleague Theodore Hall. The two then wrote the code that reassembled the body into a computer model, said Eric Maslowski, manager of the 3-D Lab, which is part of the Digital Media Commons, a service of the library.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Maslowski said that other disciplines such as engineering or natural science can use the technology to virtually dissect simulated hurricanes or slice into Mastodons, for example. DaSilva uses it now to study 3-D brains of pain patients to learn about migraine and other disorders.

Explore further: Opel/Vauxhall working on headlamps directed by driver's eyes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Computer student on gesture control: Start experimenting

Mar 25, 2015

Back in 2012, authors from Microsoft Research and UbiComp Lab at University of Washington prepared their paper, "SoundWave: Using the Doppler Effect to Sense Gestures," for the Proceedings of the Association ...

Boeing gets patent for a shockwave attenuation system

Mar 23, 2015

In science fiction, force fields act as a defense against enemy fire. This month, Boeing got a patent for generating force fields that keep shockwaves from harming military vehicles. The Boeing Company's ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.