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Surprising Science

Using “Holograms” In Medical School Lectures

It’s not quite a “Star Trek” holodeck, but two junior doctors based in London have developed a way to display 3D animated graphics of body parts on an auditorium stage.

What’s the Latest Development?

London-based junior doctors Kapil Sugand and Pedro Campos have created a system that displays 3D animated images of body parts on a large scale, giving medical students a whole new way to absorb information during a lecture. The system works through a type of illusion that “uses glass or foil combined with special lighting techniques to make objects appear in mid-air,” producing an effect that’s similar to a hologram. Last week, during a test lecture on renal function, Sugand and Campos displayed a 4-meter-high kidney on a University of London auditorium stage.

What’s the Big Idea?

According to Sugand, “[T]he attention span of the average student is 20 to 30 minutes, but standard lectures are at least an hour…It’s very difficult to comprehend and appreciate how a kidney or liver functions, for example, from PowerPoint slides.” One student, Hannah Barham, agrees: “We spend a lot of time…[trying] to get our heads round the subjects and I think this would make a lot of medical areas easier to understand.” Unfortunately, the system is still in the proof-of-concept stage, and Sugand emphasizes that it’s not meant to replace good old-fashioned cadaver dissection.

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Read it at BBC News


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