Prestigious innovation award for Futurelab project

Virtual Anatomy – Ars Electronica Futurelab, Ars Electronica – Robert Bauernhansl

The “Virtual Anatomy” software implemented by the Ars Electronica Futurelab in cooperation with Siemens Healthineers and the Johannes Kepler University has been awarded “Best Emerging Technology of the Year” at the prestigious E&T Innovation Awards – and snatched a silver medal as well. Congratulations to the teams!

The renowned E&T Innovation Awards annually honor the best innovations in different fields of technology. Besides being chosen as “Best Emerging Technology of the Year”, “Virtual Anatomy” also made second place in the category “Most Innovative Solution in Digital Health and Social Care”. Among the finalists there was yet another project by the Ars Electronica Futurelab, the immersive VR project “Deepandemia” that visualizes Covid-19 infection chains.

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With “Virtual Anatomy” you experience MR and CT data from real patients in a completely new way: as photorealistic data in 8K stereoscopic 3D – allowing you to rotate the images freely and zoom down to smallest structures. The software that is available worldwide can be presented in virtual experience rooms like the Ars Electronica Center’s Deep Space 8K: with as much as 33 million pixels and up to 16-by-9-meter wall and floor projection.

“We at the Ars Electronica Futurelab are delighted that our collaboration is not only revolutionizing medical teaching starting in Austria, but has now also been recognized internationally with the E&T Innovation Award. As a laboratory of future systems, we’re working with numerous national and international partners on the technology of the future – and we see many other areas of application for ‘Virtual Anatomy’ in research and teaching”, says Roland Haring, Technical Director of the Ars Electronica Futurelab.

The transdisciplinary team behind “Virtual Anatomy” and the JKU medSPACE: Klaus Engel of Siemens Healthineers with Horst Hörtner, Technical Director Roland Haring and Friedrich Bachinger from the Ars Electronica Futurelab and University Professor Dr. Franz Fellner, Credit: Tom Mesic
Muscles and tendon cords, organs and blood vessels, bones and ligaments, but also tumors and injuries can be magnified tens of times in “Virtual Anatomy” as three-dimensional, pin-sharp objects., Credit: Tom Mesic
“This is just the beginning,” University Professor Dr. Franz Fellner tells of “Virtual Anatomy” – here in conversation with Vice Rector Dr. Elgin Drda, Prof. Dr. Franz Fellner, Horst Hörtner from the Ars Electronica Futurelab and Prof. Dr. Meinhard Lukas, Rector of JKU Linz, Credit: Tom Mesic
The blood supply of a living person, freely rotatable and zoomable, in unimagined detail from head to toe: “Virtual Anatomy” lets you see the previously impossible[:], Credit: Tom Mesic
Friedrich Bachinger of the Ars Electronica Futurelab, one of the key figures behind the transformation of the software for 8K-3D projection and university teaching[:], Credit: Tom Mesic
University Professor Dr. Fellner presents the unique possibilities of “Virtual Anatomy” using the thyroid gland as an example[:], Credit: Tom Mesic
From the outermost layer of skin to the tiniest vessel: “Virtual Anatomy” makes anatomy more tangible and personal than ever before, Credit: Tom Mesic

Since 2021, “Virtual Anatomy” is also used to teach anatomy in the worldwide unique JKU medSpace at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz – developed and implemented by the Ars Electronica Futurelab. Here, lecturers and students dive into anatomy in a completely new way, with the anonymized photorealistic 3D images from nearby hospital patients displayed in a stereoscopic 3D 4K projection at 14×7 meters.

The process is built on the “Cinematic Rendering” library by Siemens Healthineers: It imports data from MR and CT and renders the 3D images, and then “Virtual Anatomy” is used to add the interaction capabilities and display the data in stereoscopic 3D on the big screen and synchronize it on multiple workstations. The teams of Siemens Healthineers, the Johannes Kepler University and the Ars Electronica Futurelab have been successfully working together for several years now, guided by the expertise and visions by Prof. Franz Fellner from the JKU Medical Faculty and the Central Radiology Institute at the Kepler University Hospital in Linz. The collaboration culminated in the JKU medSpace, the extraordinary venue that might very well be the future of teaching anatomy for medical students.

Want to know more? Check out the Futurelab’s project pages on “Virtual Anatomy”, the JKU medSpace and “Deepandemia”. If you’d like more information or want to implement our technology, let’s get in touch!

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