A 3D system developed by staff from Aberdeen University’s Medi-CAL Unit in partnership with the Digital Learning Foundation is being used to teach medical students at the university’s medical school.
The medical school is believed to be the first in the UK to use this particular kind of 3D system, which can transform a medical scan such as an MRI or CAT scan into a 3D image within seconds. The 3D data can then be studied by medical students wearing special glasses just like those worn by movie-goers.
The system can also incorporate other multimedia, such as photographs and video, of medical conditions or procedures such as operations, to provide a full interactive learning experience.
Currently at the pilot stage, the system will allow medical students to actively explore how organs fit together. Lecturers will also be able to highlight areas of interest with colour and 3D labels.
The university’s 3D stereoscopic visualisation system is claimed to be different to many other 3D systems, which tend to use handcrafted medical images or models that are costly and take hundreds of man hours to make.
Dr Neil Hamilton, director of the university’s Medi-CAL Unit, is leading the project. He said: ’We can take an existing medical scan that has been made anonymous, feed it into a computer and have a 3D stereoscopic image ready for teaching within a matter of seconds rather than weeks.
’We could take a scan of a head injury, for example, input the scan into our system and create a virtual model of the head. This 3D image could then have parts of it, maybe the skin, “stripped away” allowing the lecturer and student to fully explore the injury.’
The project was funded using NHS Grampian ACT funds.