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Wpi Research Team Develops Virtual Human


Principal investigator Sergey Makarov, with the Virtual Human displayed on the screen behind him.

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have created a comprehensive virtual model of a human body.

Credit: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researchers report they used thin slices of a human cadaver to create a comprehensive virtual model of a human body that can be used to conduct a wide range of medical experiments.

The virtual model was created from a collection of high-resolution color photographs of about 5,000 cross-sectional slices of the cadaver of a woman. The images were developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, which made them available to a team led by WPI professor Sergey Makarov. Over the course of four years, Makarov and a team composed of fellow researchers and undergraduates at WPI used proprietary software developed under Makarov's guidance to align the images and digitally stitch them together into a highly detailed three-dimensional model called a "computational human phantom." The phantom can be used to simulate research and medical procedures that would be too dangerous to conduct on a living human.

The model already has been used to study how tissues surrounding metal implants might respond if a patient is placed in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner.

From Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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