Cadaver disection has always been a fundamental way for medical students to learn human anatomy, but access to cadavers has always been a challenge (as we’ve seen here), and for obvious reasons, each specimen has a strictly limited useful life.
Enter Anatomage, a California based 3D medical technology company that got together with Stanford University’s Division of Clinical Anatomy and created the world’s first life-size 3D interactive virtual dissection table named, not surprisingly,The Anatomage Table. Recently featured on PBS during a 21st century ‘autopsy’ of King Tut, The Anatomage Table uses touch-sensitive interaction to allow the user to cut away layers of the body, rotate it in any direction, and limit the display to specific body parts like the skeleton or internal organs. Like any anatomy book, structures can be labeled, and those labels remain linked to their parts as the body is repositioned.
Of course, through the wonders of portable technology, anyone with a computer or tablet and the right software can experience similar applications on a smaller scale, but the level of detail and one-to-one scale of The Anatomage Table makes it a viable option to cut down (though not eliminate) the need for actual human cadavers – and as Jack Choi, CEO of Anatomage, mentions during a demonstration at a TED talk, if you make a mistake, the digital cadaver has “Undo.”
And let’s face it, it’s just very cool.