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Medicine Biotech

Virtual Autopsy On a Multi-Touch Table Surface 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the over-my-dead-body dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Engadget points out one of the more interesting ways to use a multitouch table surface so far. Researchers at Norrkoping Visualization Centre and the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization in Sweden have fitted such a device with stunning, volume-rendered visualizations of high-resolution MRI data. If you've ever wondered what the inside of a human being really looks like, but lacked the grit or credentials to watch an autopsy in the flesh, check it out."
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Virtual Autopsy On a Multi-Touch Table Surface

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  • by Da_Biz (267075) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:23AM (#29671157)

    I had the pleasure of taking Human Anatomy and Physiology a few years ago. The professor was superb, but our school didn't have the resources to afford a cadaver lab.

    Pictures and plastic models are OK, but there are times when being able to visualize something like this would greatly help the learning experience.

    • by CodingHero (1545185) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:31AM (#29671241)

      I had the pleasure of taking Human Anatomy and Physiology a few years ago. The professor was superb, but our school didn't have the resources to afford a cadaver lab.

      Pictures and plastic models are OK, but there are times when being able to visualize something like this would greatly help the learning experience.

      I agree that visualizing greatly helps the learning experience in science and engineering and that tools like this would be very helpful in the areas of medicine and biology. A cool next step to this would be some sort of "virtual surgery" that could pay attention to what both hands were doing at once.

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:08PM (#29672323) Journal

        Watching that video with the "layers of skin and bone peeling away" reminded me of some classic 1980s games. Like the Intellivision's Microsurgeon - the power of 16-bit gaming baby! ;-) LINK - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms_yLmub6PM [youtube.com]

        IBM PC variant (check out the amazing 2 color graphics and hi-fidelity "beep" sound) ;-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5azQdQR35E [youtube.com]

        Commodore Amiga variant - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAR_c89TjEc [youtube.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)

        I agree that visualizing greatly helps the learning experience in science and engineering and that tools like this would be very helpful in the areas of medicine and biology. A cool next step to this would be some sort of "virtual surgery" that could pay attention to what both hands were doing at once.

        Like Microsoft's Natal concept? Where the controls are your hands or typical items? Combined with multi-touch tables, it's a fantastic idea for learning that could lower costs.

        Another cool concept would be that these tables could pull from a database/data warehouse where all sorts of MRI data from real life cases is stored.

    • but there are times when being able to visualize something like this would greatly help the learning experience.

      I'm sure the cleaners probably prefer it too. ;-)

      Of course, it looks gobsmackingly awesome right now, but I guess in 5 years or so this'll all be old hat. Maybe there's something a bit sad about that. But then, when I was a kid, the humble flatbed scanner would have been well and truly in the realms of science fiction...
      • >>>when I was a kid, the humble flatbed scanner would have been well and truly in the realms of science fiction...

        When I was a kid, the personal computer didn't even exist yet. I was about 7 when people first started getting PCs (Apples, Ataris, Tandy-Radio Shacks).

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Fine, but not at the expense of having the students miss the exquisite aroma of formaldehyde.

      Long ago, I was filming anatomy classes for a med school, making educational films. It is nigh impossible to get that smell out of your clothes, even your shoes. I dated a first-year med student for a while, and fine as she was, I just couldn't get past that smell. She'd shower, put on perfume, and you'd still get that note of formaldehyde. Unfortunately, by the time she'd passed anatomy, and the smell went away,

  • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:28AM (#29671213) Homepage
    Waiting with anticipation.
  • I think (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:34AM (#29671297)
    I think I've played this before, it's called operation! I was never very good at it. I always preferred to play doctor instead.
    • Re:I think (Score:5, Insightful)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:00PM (#29671567) Journal

      >>>I always preferred to play doctor instead.

      Good thing your childhood was in the past and not the present. Today's kids "play doctor" using cellphones, and they are getting charged with distributing child pornography. We just had another case yesterday where a girlfriend/boyfriend wanted to see each other naked, so they sent photos, and now they are charged with a crime. Ridiculous. If you can't even take a photos of your own body, then you no longer own it. You've become a serf.

      Also a distinction should be made between simple nudity and sex.
      The latter is pornographic; the former is not.
      The view of a human body without clothes is not something to fear.

      • Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't "playing doctor" intended to be more than simple nudity? I'm not trying to say it's explicitly sexual, but there's a difference between nudity as such and nudity with a sexual connotation. As for your cell phone example, I doubt the parties wanted each others' naked pictures simply because they had a biological curiosity. I somehow get the feeling that there was something more to it, which would be why the law is cracking down on them.
        • Re:I think (Score:4, Insightful)

          by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:43PM (#29672809) Journal

          >>>a difference between nudity as such and nudity with a sexual connotation

          Which basically means you can define ANY nudity as having a "sexual connotation". It's a slippery slope. For example I might just be taking videos of my vacation in Brazil (where the women and children wear little or nothing), but if my local District Attorney Harry Prude got a hold of it, he might label it "sexually explicit" and throw me in jail.

          It is better to define nudity as just nudity, and therefore protected freedom of expression, until there's an actual sex act occurring.
          .

          >>>isn't "playing doctor" intended to be more than simple nudity

          Really? Man my neighbor Sally duped me! She told me "look but don't touch."

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by demonlapin (527802)
          The southern humorist (and sports columnist) Lewis Grizzard once commented beautifully on this when describing the three ways in which a person can be said to lack clothing:
          1. Nude: what people in paintings are
          2. Naked: what you are when you are born, or in the shower.
          3. Nekkid: naked and up to something
          • My grandmother used to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade, with the cheerleaders, and say, "That's horrible. They are practically negged! I can't believe they allow that."

            (rolls eyes)

      • by corbettw (214229)

        The view of a human body without clothes is not something to fear.

        That depends entirely on which human's body we're talking about. *cough*Rosie O'Donnell*cough*

  • I love the way they scrape the bottom of the obscure niche barrel to prove this toy technology is actually useful.
    • by citizenr (871508)

      I love the way they scrape the bottom of the obscure niche barrel to prove this toy technology is actually useful.

      This is not M$ Surface. Plus gestures are visibly laggy on this one.

    • by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:05PM (#29671631) Journal

      I think autopsies are a perfect first problem to solve. First, you can keep the corpse intact which makes the autopsies less distasteful to the family (assuming they want a viewing). Second, you get a lot more data about the tissues as they are intact at the time of the scan. Third, you keep a lot more detailed data than pictures and/or a videotape and a recording from the technician - you can review the data anytime you want.

      And, finally, if there turn out to be some adverse tissue effects from the scanners, their patients aren't really going to mind all that much.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Just make sure to run the ol' metal detector on it first ;)
        • by natehoy (1608657)

          Hmm, good point. Steel-jacketed bullets are a must for criminals, because it'll mess up the autopsy...

      • Costs a lot for time to run scans, though. Not sure how much a real autopsy costs, but a virtual one is probably more expensive.

        • by vegiVamp (518171)
          TFA (or the video in it) mentioned something of about 15 minutes for scanning. Given that the scan data is processed automatically, I'd guess you can have your autopsy being in under an hour.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by demonlapin (527802)
        Er, no. Autopsy has many components; MRI or CT would supplant only the most cursory examination. Organs are weighed; they are examined both grossly and microscopically. The vasculature is examined carefully - there's no way to do that with dead people without cutting them open, because they can't circulate the contrast material needed to see them on a scan. Toxicology can be collected. And so forth.
        • by vegiVamp (518171)
          TFA did mention the usual inability do to scans of dead bodies, and having developed "entirely new technology" to work around that.
          • That's a result of their being cold - the MRI process is apparently tuned for warm protons. It isn't that you can't scan bodies now - indeed, CT could easily do it without their tech - it's that scans, while useful, are rarely a substitute for actually looking at the body. Otherwise, we wouldn't have exploratory surgery.
    • Not at all. I am at medschool currently, my school is one of the few in the UK which can afford to have a full dissection lab, let alone source the cadavers.
      • You're training to be a doctor but you're too thick to understand that I was referring to the multitouch, which seems to be the new panacea of UI design (just like speech recognition was).

        Are you from Nigeria or something?

        P.S. I don't believe for one minute that there are medical schools where they don't do dissections.

  • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:42AM (#29671377)

    Look honey, I bought us a new dining room table. Take a look at what it can do. Why aren't you eating, aren't you hungry?

    • by TheLink (130905)
      Better hope she doesn't start looking at you strangely/vacantly and say "Mmmm... brainssss...".
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:43AM (#29671399) Journal

    "Instead of actually playing with your kids, you could just look at video of them playing by themselves. And you'll smile knowing you only paid ten thousands dollars to do it." - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZrr7AZ9nCY [youtube.com]

    • >>> $10,000

      Hey! What a coincidence. That's how much I spent keeping my Mac upgraded over the last ten years. (ducks a spitball). I kid, I kid.

  • Diagnosis (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jpmorgan (517966) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:47AM (#29671429) Homepage
    It may be a virtual autopsy today, but how long until we see something similar but as a diagnostic tool? It'll probably take another years to bring everything together (and 3d image reconstruction is still a computationally intensive task), but I can see something like this coupled with MRI and other diagnostic data from live patients. Fantastic.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by chooks (71012)

      Computers have been used for quite some time in medicine but mainly for data storage/retrieval. Their use in the diagnostic process is evolving. For example, computer aided reading of mammograms is a current area of R&D, although not to a point where it is automated. One cool application of 3D reconstruction currently in use is with bronchoscopies, where the software creates a 3D reconstruction of a bronchial tree from CT slices and then sets up breadcrumbs for a pulmonologist to a target site. Dur

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Don't forget how a CT scanner works: it effectively takes thousands of xrays in a 360 degree plane around the body at different slices through the body. Start at the head, 360 degrees around the area. Move the body down a bit, do the thorax, 360 degrees, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CT_scanner [wikipedia.org] Actually, most of the tech you see on the screen has been available for years - as in, a lot of ct scanners can do a 3d reconstruction anyway. The images you see on that vid have been done for years, it's just

      • I also should mention - They used MRI, not CT. Which doesn't change most of the arguments of the above post (3d reconstruction can be done on either modality, and can still be viewed with any imaging software, and is still pretty useless in clinical practice) and it also means that it would all be out of the question there was any question about if someone had gotten shot.

        With regards to post mortems, as far as I know, there is no centre in the world doing routine MRIs for all post mortems. It's still a

    • Check out the 2nd video on TFA. It takes 20 seconds for a CT Scan to process the body!

      Sure you need some high end equipment, but to not disturb the body and do something extremely close to a full autopsy? A master card says, priceless.

      I wonder if this counts as desecration of the body? Think Orthodox Judaism [google.com] or Islamic Funerals, which need to take place ASAP [wikipedia.org].
  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:52AM (#29671489) Journal

    Just wait until the porn industry gets its hands on this technology...

  • by dorpus (636554) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:03PM (#29671603)

    I used to work at a hospital, and they let me sit in on one. What you miss is the yellow skin of corpses, and the fact that they still make noises from various orifices when you move the body parts.

    The gall bladder really is green -- it's not an artifact of textbook coloring.

    Everyone said I will get sick from watching a real autopsy, but it didn't feel any worse than watching a horror movie. I wore a mask, so didn't smell much.

    • by chooks (71012)

      I've assisted many autopsies. The bad ones are:

      1. The partial decomps. Those really do not smell good. Probably better than a full decomp, but I've never done one of those as the hospital I am at does not allow them.
      2. Running the bowel. It smells as wonderful as it sounds. Normally in surgical pathology you work under a hood that vents off most of the lovely odors (unless you get something like a 3 day old placenta that has been left out without formalin). In autopsy you run the bowel (go through every in
  • Slow Reponse Time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by k0de (619918)
    The concept and imaging are fantastic, but I hope the technology improves as the table didn't appear very responsive. I was annoyed just watching the users struggling to navigate it.
  • Well, what I want is a 62", quad-HD touchscreen - stylus is fine - for reviewing architectural prints. They rarely come in larger than E size (30x42) which would fit well on a 62" widescreen monitor at 100% scale. Let me mark them up with a stylus and send them off. Make it responsive (i.e. - don't let Adobe or Autodesk code the reader) so can "flip" through a set quickly. And make it cost under $5k. That last one is mostly just quantity, since all I'm really looking for a 62" tablet computer with a decent

  • If I was born with a diamond spoon in my mouth I would sell that spoon and have this installed in my house. Such a great educational tool; I've seen quite a few other virtual surgery application in the past but nothing had compare to this.

  • I think this is just savvy marketing to get exposure for the research lab. In reality this is a virtual anatomy tool that has a 3D interface and works on a fancy multi-touch table. This is a lot like the virtual human project (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html) but works with any human that will fit in the scanner(s), and has cool interface.

    This is an excellent tool for pre-surgery visualization, for augmenting radiological visualization, and for education purposes but could not rep

  • "Say you've got a victim of drowning. You need to probe inside to determine if water is present in the lungs, or if the victim died prior to immersion. And, say, you need to upload your results to your boss, the sheriff, the district attorney, and the press corps, all with one click.

    "Yes, there's an app for that."

  • Its just a flat-screen computer laid on it side to be horizontal. And software/hardware that allows multi-touch. This fails to even qualify as an invention. Its like a gigantic iphone sitting on the floor.

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.

Working...