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Virtual reality lets scientists step inside their research

Jun 2007
Nancy D. Lamontagne

By displaying medicaland genomic data in 4-D images, a new human atlas called CAVEman lets scientists visualize their experiments in a cube-shaped virtual reality room. The images are projected from three walls and the floor. Photo by Masumi Yajima.

The atlas, created by Christoph W. Sensen and his team at the Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada — the group is also on the university’s medicalfaculty — could be useful to researchers studying disease, as well as to physicians exploring surgical planning. Picture by Christoph W. Sensen.

The human atlas is based on data from anatomy textbooks, which a graphic artist rendered as animated drawings that were converted into Java 3D. The image resembles a real human but can be viewed in any scale. Thus one can look at the whole model or at any part of it at one time. Photos by Masumi Yajima and Christoph W. Sensen.

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