Jack Choi

On the virtual dissection table

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You know, cadaver dissection is the traditional way of learning human anatomy. For students, it's quite an experience, but for a school, it could be very difficult or expensive to maintain. So we learned the majority of anatomic classes taught, they do not have a cadaver dissection lab. Maybe those reasons, or depending on where you are, cadavers may not be easily available.


So to address this, we developed with a Dr. Brown in Stanford: virtual dissection table. So we call this Anatomage Table. So with this Anatomage Table, students can experience the dissection without a human cadaver. And the table form is important, and since it's touch-interactive, just like the way they do dissections in the lab, or furthermore just the way a surgeon operates on a patient you can literally interact with your table. Our digital body is one-to-one life size, so this is exactly the way students will see the real anatomy.


I'm going to do some demonstrations. As you can see, I use my finger to interact with my digital body. I'm going to do some cuts. I can cut any way I want to, so I cut right here. Then it's going to show inside. And I can change my cut to see different parts. Maybe I can cut there, see the brain, and I can change my cut. You can see some internal organs. So we call this the slicer mode. OK, I'm going to do another cut. Right there. This shows a lot of internal structures. So if I want to see the back side, I can flip and see from behind. Like this. So if these images are uncomfortable to you or disturbing to you, that means we did the right job. So our doctors said these are eye candies.


So instead of just butchering the body, I'd like to do more clinically meaningful dissections. What I'm going to do is I'm going to peel off all the skin, muscles and bones, just to see a few internal organs. Right here. Let's say I'm going to cut the liver right here. OK. Let's say I'm interested in looking at the heart. I'm going to do some surgery here. I'm going to cut some veins, arteries. Oops! ...


You don't want to hear "oops" in real surgery. (Laughter) But fortunately, our digital man has "undo." (Laughter) Okay.


All right then. Let me zoom in. I'm going to make a cut right there. And then you can see the inside of the heart. You can see the atrium and the ventricles, how blood flows to our arteries and veins. Just like this, students can isolate anybody and dissect any way you want to. It doesn't have to be always dissection. Since it's digital, we can do reverse dissection. So let me show you, I'm going to start with the skeletal structure, and I can add a few internal organs. Yep. Maybe I can add quickly this way. And I can build muscles gradually, just like that. We can see tendons and muscles. Wish I could build my muscle this fast. (Laughter) And this is another way to learn anatomy.


Another thing I can show you is, more often than not, doctors get to meet patients in X-ray form. So, Anatomage Table shows exactly how the anatomy will appear in X-ray. You can also interact with your X-ray, and also if you want, you can compare with how anatomy would appear in X-ray, too. So when you are done, just bring back the body and then it's ready for another session. It looks like our table also can transform gender, too. It's a female now.


So this is Anatomage Table. Thank you. (Applause)

Onstage at TED2012, Jack Choi demonstrates a powerful tool for training medical students: a stretcher-sized multi-touch screen of the human body that lets you explore, dissect and understand the body's parts and systems.

About the speaker
Jack Choi · Technologist

Jack is the CEO of Anatomage, a company specializing on 3D medical technology.

Jack is the CEO of Anatomage, a company specializing on 3D medical technology.