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: It's shocking: Ultra-focused electric current helps brain curb pain

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Oculus Rift users to see Moon live through robot

13 hours ago

A group from Carnegie Mellon wants to send a robot to the Moon to beam live pictures of the Moon to Oculus Rift headset users, reported technology reporter Jane Wakefield of the BBC. Andy the robot is intended ...

Skin icons can tap into promise of smartwatch

Oct 21, 2014

You have heard it before: smartwatches are cool wearables but critics remind us of the fact that their small size makes many actions cumbersome and they question how many people will really have them on their ...

Japan firm showcases Bat-Signal of the future

Oct 20, 2014

A free-floating image created by firing lasers into thin air was unveiled in Japan on Monday, offering the possibility one day of projecting messages into a cloudless sky, as seen in Batman.

User comments : 0