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November 14, 2007

BehindTheMedspeak: CAVEman


Above and below, 4-D — yes, that's right — holograms generated by a new medical research tool called CAVEman.


Kathleen Hom wrote about it in a story that appeared in yesterday's Washington Post Health section, and follows.

'Maybe It Was Something I Ate'

That's no giant lying flayed on the floor at the University of Calgary in Alberta; it's a 4-D hologram generated by a new medical research tool called CAVEman. The tool lets researchers superimpose data such as CT scans, X-rays and biopsy results onto the floating image, projected into an empty space from three walls and the floor.


Christoph Sensen, director of the university's Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics, says it took his team six years to create the tool, which can help doctors and researchers study a disease's genetic composition and its effect on the body. Because CAVEman integrates many discrete pieces of knowledge in one space, it can help specialists see the big picture, Sensen says. Researchers can enlarge or shrink the hologram, focus on a single organ and even time-lapse the image (the fourth dimension) to see bodily functions and diseases progress.


Sensen — he's seen [just above] looking down at the hologram — and his team are working on a mechanism that would allow researchers to reach into the hologram and feel various tissues, comparing differences in density; they hope to incorporate organ sounds, too. They're also trying to move from a generic model to an individual-specific one that doctors can use to explain options to patients.


Here is a page of extraordinary images (a number of which appear above) from the project.

November 14, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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