The JKU medSPACE is a completely new, worldwide unique venue for teaching anatomy, located at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz. Developed and implemented by the Ars Electronica Futurelab, the JKU medSPACE shows anatomy like never before, in quadruple stereoscopic 3D 4K projection at 14×7 meters: Lecturers and students dive into larger than life, photorealistic 3D images, razor-sharp from all angles and seamlessly zoomable.
The JKU medSPACE – lecture hall, laboratory, forum and stage at the same time – is a perennial collaborative research project. Here, medical professors teach anatomy in a completely new way: Students and professors wear 3D glasses to inspect the human body – via the software Virtual Anatomy – larger than life, from any angle and seamlessly zoomable, in stereoscopic 3D. Organs and blood vessels, muscles and tendons, bones and ligaments, as well as tumors and injuries can be magnified to tiniest details as three-dimensional objects in razor-sharp clarity.
The JKU medSPACE is an example of how expertise in different fields, artistic input, curiosity and openness create a breeding ground for important innovation. After all, it is a starting point for a generation of physicians who will be accustomed to operating alongside robots, to work with AI systems for diagnostics and to learn and teach in virtual environments.
One-of-a-kind medical data
One of the unique features of the JKU medSPACE at the JKU Linz Faculty of Medicine is that there are no abstracted models: the data comes from real, living patients from the Kepler University Hospital in Linz. Since every patient is different, Virtual Anatomy in the JKU medSPACE shows a great variety of human anatomy instead of a standardized, idealized version from many anatomical text books. This way, students not only see pathological changes, but get to know the human body as a whole on a different level. The medSPACE is also used to transmit surgeries via two video channels live from an operating room.
Another unique benefit of the JKU medSPACE: The whole process from new data to full-body 3D anatomy takes only a couple of minutes, allowing for immense flexibility and previously unknown teaching opportunities. This is possible by realizing the potential of the Virtual Anatomy software, developed by the Ars Electronica Futurelab, based on the Cinematic Rendering software by Siemens Healthineers. While Cinematic Rendering is used to import data from MRI and CRT, Virtual Anatomy adds information, fine tunes and displays the data as photorealistic 3D-images. You can read all about the history of Virtual Anatomy and how it works on our project page.
The JKU medSPACE is the latest addition to the R&D of the Ars Electronica Futurelab in three-dimensional multi-user environments. In 1996, the CAVE opened at the Ars Electronica Center, in 2009 the first Deep Space opened. Meanwhile, plans for a new faculty of medicine were on the way in Linz, that was founded in 2013. Two years later, three renowned hospitals in the city merged to form the Kepler University Hospital, creating Austria’s second largest hospital.
Also in 2015, the Cinematic Rendering prototype by Siemens was first shown in Deep Space 8K, thanks to an initiative led by Prof. Dr. Franz Fellner – presently Director of the Central Radiology Institute at Kepler University Hospital. A year later Virtual Anatomy opened to the public at the Ars Electronica Center.
Due to the success, Virtual Anatomy became a regular lecture for medical students at the Deep Space 8K in 2018. In 2021, the new buildings for the Faculty of Medicine in Linz were opened, including the JKU medSPACE – planned and constructed by the Ars Electronica Futurelab, with an enhanced version of Virtual Anatomy. In 2022, the Deep Space 8K was remodelled with Deep Space EVOLUTION – new programs include the new version of Virtual Anatomy, open to the public for the first time worldwide.
Read more about the JKU medSPACE on the Ars Electronica Blog:
Ars Electronica Futurelab: Friedrich Bachinger, Florian Berger, Roland Haring
Ars Electronica Solutions: Patrick Müller
Medical-Scientific Director: Prim. Univ. — Prof. Dr. Franz Fellner (AKH Linz/Department of Radiology)
PARTNER: Siemens Healthineers; Johannes Kepler Universität (JKU); Kepler Universitätsklinikum (KUK)
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Interested in similar projects? The following Ars Electronica Futurelab projects are related to the ideas and concepts presented here. An overview of all our productions, cooperations and projects can be found in our project archive.