With the BodyExplorer, 'You won't feel a thing...'

Kathryn Sterling | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | December 2, 2013

I was in the University of Pittsburgh Simulation and Medical Technology Research and Development Center, and the researchers were having me try out the BodyExplorer simulator firsthand.

BodyExplorer is a system designed to help train medical professionals. Using the simulator, they can observe internal anatomy, practice skills such as administering medication and inserting an endotracheal tube, and receive immediate feedback on their actions.

The simulator's components include a standard projector, the mannequin body, a Wii remote, and a wireless mouse pen. The projector projects images of internal anatomy down onto the mannequin's chest. The Wii remote is attached to the projector and tracks the location of an infrared LED at the tip of the mouse pen, communicating the data to a computer via a Bluetooth connection. This allows the learner to use the pen like a virtual scalpel, opening windows that reveal different layers of internal anatomy, as if cutting deeper and deeper into the body.

"We developed and modified the IR pen input device from the 'Wiimote Whiteboard' system created by Johnny Chung Lee, a former student at CMU who is now at Google," Mr. Samosky explains. "It's a nice example of how open source software developed for one purpose (a low-cost electronic whiteboard) can be creatively applied to benefit a completely different application."