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CAVEman is an interactive, object-oriented model of a human body consisting of over 3,000 anatomically correct, catalogued and computerized body parts.

The first such model ever developed, CAVEman is known as a 4-D human atlas. 4-D includes the three spatial dimensions plus time , which allows researchers to simulate the progression of a disease or the effects of a treatment over a period of time. The model will be used to study surgical techniques, human development, disease and treatment (among many other potential applications). Future projects include female and infant models.

The three-dimensional ( 3-D ) image of a male body appears to float in mid-air within the CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), a cube -shaped virtual reality room in which the walls are rear-projection screens. The model is projected from three sides and the floor of the room. The user can walk around the body, rotate the figure in all directions and magnify or zoom in or out on any area. Sensors embedded throughout the room track the viewer's position to align the perspective correctly. Researchers sometimes refer to the CAVE as the "research holodeck."

See an image of the CAVEman.

A research team led by Dr. Christoph Sensen developed CAVEman at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. The university's $6 million CAVE was opened in 2002, in collaboration with Sun Microsystems Inc. The cost of the CAVEman project has been estimated as between $460,000 and $1.8 million.

This was last updated in February 2008

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