Monday, August 20, 2018

Data Visualization Meets Grizzly Bear

Scientists such as Anders Ynnerman and his team have been able to use a CAT scan to acquire images of entire human bodies (with all their systems), then project the images to a computer screen the size of a person-lengthed table to be manipulated, iPhone style, through touch. Users can zoom in and out, spin the images, look at cross-sections, even zoom through tissue to see what lies beneath. 

They also have another instrument that is like a pen that can be used to point to specific parts of the body that one can see through what looks like a microfilm reader. The pen operates with an algorithm that makes the user feel the surfaces through the pen: so if you push on an image of the skull of the person in the CAT scan machine, you'll feel yourself push through the skin and the tissues surrounding the skull. If you push harder, you'll feel like you're pushing through bone, then into and through the brain, with precise real-time images of all the coils and blood vessels of the brain appearing as you push through them. If you push on an image of someone's chest and then through or past their ribs, you can rest the pen against the image of the heart as it beats and feel its rhythms through the pen with amazing accuracy. Imagine the way such simulation will affect training the surgeons of the future!

Scientists are in the process of scanning animals like lions and bears (quite a challenge to get even a sleeping bear into a CAT scan machine) so that our knowledge of the details of animal anatomy can approach our knowledge of human anatomy, making veterinarians everywhere--especially wildlife veterinarians--very happy. 

That was four years ago. What are these scientists up to now? Coining terms like "exploranation."

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