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Visualization tables help anatomy studies

Linköping University is the first in the world to use a visualization table in medical training. The table is the discovery of a LiU researcher and has been brought to market by Sectra, a medical technology company.

Visualiseringsbord.The Sectra Visualization Table consists of a large touch screen with software that makes it possible to interact with three-dimensional pictures generated when patients are examined with computer tomographs or magnetic resonance imaging.

Located at the LiU’s Faculty of Health Sciences training and lab centre, Clinicum, it will be used for training and self-study in anatomy and pathology for all University Hospital undergraduate courses.

“In contrast to anatomy books with illustrations of a standard body, here we can show pictures from several different actual people at life size. The pictures can be twisted and turned, and layers of skin, muscle, and tendons can be “peeled off” down to the skeleton level," says Pia Tingström, head of the Pedagogical Centre at the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Anders Persson, föreståndare på CMIV vid ett visualiseringsbord.The visualization table will be delivered to Clinicum before Christmas. Before the students can be let in, a project group will choose suitable pictures and remove all identifying information so that they can be used in training.

This fascinating table has its roots in basic research into visualization at LiU. Professor Anders Ynnerman and his graduate students, in conjunction with Anders Persson at the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization, developed algorithms for treating the large amounts of data from magnetic imagers and computer tomographs.

“It’s great that the table is now being put to use in medical training. That’s exactly what we were aiming at,” Ynnerman says.

From idea to commercial product, the entire process took three years, which, in this context, is extremely fast. A demonstration model, constructed at Interactive Institute and Visualisation Centre C with LiU alumnus Thomas Rydell at the forefront, was shown at an EU ministerial meeting in July 2009. The following year, a prototype was presented at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, and thus the first commercial product is now for sale, produced for medicinal use by Sectra.

A parallel lead was to produce a visualization table for museums and science centres. The first customer is the Singapore Science Centre.

“There is a large difference between professional tools and a product for public operations,” says Rydell, who is trained in media technology at LiU Norrköping and currently studio representative for Interactive Institute.

Text: Åke Hjelm


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Last updated: 2012-12-10