See your organs, bones, and muscles move in real time.
As infants, humans are able to recognize themselves in mirrors from around the age of 18 months. With that recognition, we become interested in our physical bodies, beginning to use mirrors as a way to groom ourselves and perceive any changes. Over time X-Rays, MRIs and CAT scans have been developed so that we can get an idea of what’s going on inside of our bodies; but it wasn’t until now, with the invention of the ‘digital mirror,’ that we have been allowed a more complete view of our insides.
When standing in from of the digital mirror, people can see their bones, organs, and muscles in real time. This is achieved by a complex process in which a person must undergo an X-Ray, MRI, and PET scan to capture images of his internal body. Then a Microsoft Kinect motion-capturing camera captures the movements of your joints. All these images can then be compiled and animated with the help of graphical processing units. Though the collection of all these images takes about three hours, once they have been secured, the person can see their inner bodies in real time.
A team led by Xavier Maître, a medical imaging researcher at the University of Paris-South, created the Digital Mirror to explore how people relate to their bodies. In an experiment, creators left 30 people alone with the digital mirror for several minutes to observe people’s reactions. Because these participants had not undergone the necessary scans, the mirrors showed pre-recorded movements by persons of the same gender. Maître and team discovered that the people were both surprised and curious to discover what their insides looked like.
Maître believes that in the future, doctors and other medical professionals might be able to use these mirrors to help patients explore parts of their bodies that are giving them problems, or to visualize what will happen during an operation. Similar thinking has sparked designs of a comparable nature to begin the developing process in Germany, Chicago, and Washington DC.
According to New Scientist, in the future Maître plans to make these digital mirrors even more lifelike by programming the heart to beat and lungs to move. He said, ‘Normally, the physician might show you an image of a CT or MRI of your body, but it is not in relation to your actual body. It might as well be someone else’s CT. If you’re able to actually relate it to some parts of your body, it may give you a little more information about where the problem is.’
[h/t] New Scientist