Your anatomy textbooks are 2D. CAVEman is 4D, meaning it’s as cool as your average text book squared. Of course, if your text book’s coolness is <1, then that means CAVEman isn't very cool at all...so maybe the math doesn't hold up, cut us some slack, it's Thursday. Oh, the research, right: The University of Calgary unveiled their 4D (that’s typical 3D + time) high-resolution model of a functioning human. Essentially, they integrated data from assorted 3D imaging sources along with text books and can scale from a whole-body view down to micro-scale structures in a virtual reality room…
CAVEman resides in the CAVE, a cube-shaped virtual reality room, also known as the “research Holodeck”, in which the 4D human model floats in space, projected from three walls and the floor below.
“Six years ago, we gathered a team of computer scientists, biologists, mathematicians, and artists,” says Christoph Sensen, PhD, director of the Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine. “Our goal was to build a model of a complete human, at 10 times the resolution of anything else on the market. I am proud to say today, we have reached that goal.”
This project first began as the brainchild of a small company in Red Deer, Alberta. “Our initial goal was to make computer models that could be utilized for our massage therapy training program,” says Brenda Grosenick, co-owner of Kasterstener Inc. “We approached U of C with the concept, and suddenly, we were working on something much more elaborate than we could have ever imagined!”
The 4D human atlas is built upon data from basic anatomy textbooks. Fundamental body systems and organs were rendered into animated drawings by a graphic artist, and converted into Java 3DTM to bring them to life in the CAVE environment. “CAVEman is designed to look like a real human, but can also be sized to any scale we want,” says Sensen. “We can display all or only a few select components of the model at any given time.”
CAVEman is designed to help medical researchers investigate the genetics of various diseases, and new approaches to targeted treatments. “This technology is a powerful tool for my research into how genetic mutations lead to developmental problems such as cleft lip and palate,” says Benedikt Hallgrimsson, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and anatomy, U of C’s Faculty of Medicine. “As the technology grows, it will be useful for diverse studies of growth and development, both for creating predictive models and also for complex visualization.”