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First 3D Virtual Dissection Table Created by Anatomage

Naureen Nayyar

PSFK's contributor Libby Garrett recently wrote a piece about the Anatomage table, the world's first life-sized 3D interactive virtual dissection table.  The Anatomage table was created by San Jose-based company Anatomage in partnership with Stanford Medicine's Clinical Anatomy department.  With this new method of doing dissections on virtual cadavers, students can experience surgery and gain access to seeing more in-depth images of the human body virtually.  The Virtual Anatomy Table (VAT) is making studying anatomy have virtual components that are highly useful/

The company's site states; "For anatomy courses without cadavers, Anatomage Table offers the most realistic virtual cadaver. This cutting edge technology will help raise the standards of medical education to the next level."

The article by Libby Garrett, includes a video and points out ways that this new way of doing 'virtual' exploration of the human body allows students to explore rare medical cases.  The company's CEO, Jack Choi, gave a talk about the table during his 2012 TED talk.  A few case studies are currently being conducted on the way that the product has impacted students, most of the research shows the table has immense future potential, and has thus far been implemented in various medical institutions throughout the world. The company promotes purchasing of the table to companies, institutions, hospitals, and clinics.

University of Cumberlands (UC) Physicians Assistant Program became the first PA school in Kentucky and in the country to incorporate an Anatomage Table into their curriculum. The program blog stated that after submitting a proposal, the university was awared a private grant of 71,000USD to purchase the Anatomage table.  The table is also used by research assistants, students, and doctors at Stanford, to study 3D renderings of body parts, and for general education in the clinical anatomy department.

During time of writing this summary, an e-mail was received from one of the team members of Anatomage that added further information to current users and case studies being done around this Virtual Anatomy Table (VAT): 

"We currently have over 55 institutions worldwide who use the table and have sold over 70 tables in the past 7 months. We have sold to both private and public schools and have actually been receiving a lot of attention from smaller, state run schools who traditionally did not have the budget for cadaver dissection. Many larger schools with well funded cadaver labs, such as Stanford University, also use our table as a compliment to traditional cadaver dissection.

Currently, several studies are being carried out on table effectiveness and a recent poster presentation "Formative Evaluation of the Virtual Anatomy Table" by Patricia Youngblood, PhD;  Alan Detton, PhD; and Sakti Srivastava, MBBS, MS from the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that "After instructor-led review sessions the VAT [Virtual Anatomy Table] received the highest ratings of usefulness compared to other digital media including stereoscopic images in the Basset collection and 3D models, and was also ranked higher than physical models and textbooks.'"

The Anatomage table uses anatomy imaging software the company developed using their highly successful Invivo5, which is used by numerous academic institutions.  The screen is 3960 x 1080 resolution. The LCD technology makes it very bright with high contract even under the day light and does not require to be operated in a dark room. Material wise, the table comes with a full body gross anatomy model rendered from CT scan data, however, 2D photographic images and presentations can also be incorporated into the product.  The Anatomage Table can also many other data types, including MRI and ultrasound scanners.  

Needless to say, the learning value of the VAT seems immense as it can lead to also consumer understanding of anatomy and rare diseases. Being the first of such a 3D virtual dissection device, leaves a lot of room for adding more data and modifying the device based on user feedback.  The future of studying anatomy seems to be going towards more virtual anatomical exploration, but this device could also lead to having more usefulness than textbooks for various departments of medical schools and other fields.


Anatomage Table was not able to provide pricing during the time of this posting, but you can contact their sales people for purchase information at To read more about the company, you can visit their site. 

The full length of the PSFK article can be found here.

Image via Anatomage website.