Researchers at Gifu University in Japan have developed a new medical teaching tool which uses projectors to allow students to study the brain and central nervous systems.

The new tool projects a life-size virtual anatomical model onto a plain mannequin, creating a virtual human body. This ‘body’ can then be used as a teaching aid, allowing medical students to study the organs and functions of the body from every angle.

A handheld viewer allows the projector system to know from which direction someone is viewing the body, so the virtual projection is automatically ‘warped’ so that it does not look distorted from any viewing angle.

The 3D effect is far more useful as a realistic teaching tool for the students as it allows them optimum viewing of the layout of the human body. The projector set-up is said to be especially useful for those studying the function of cerebral nerves and the movements of expressive muscles in the body.

Gifu University researchers told Akihabaranews, “This system only requires objects, sensors, and a projector, so we think it could be commercialised quickly. Also, because it uses real objects, it provides a haptic experience without needing special equipment. Consequently, it gives natural haptic feedback. So, when you manipulate objects, the graphics move along with you, rather than you acting in an empty space using a mouse and keyboard or hand sensors.”