HotAIR - The Virtual Colon


The Virtual Colon

A spiffy names for some new technology

by Brenda-Flora DeGaussing, AIR staff

A non-virtual colon.

Occasionally we like to train the spotlight of attention on new technology that has a spiffy name. Investigator Ellen Davis alerted us to a startlingly good example. She writes:

I am a computer science minor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. I have taken several classes from Dr. Yaorong Ge, one of the researchers involved in this submission. Dr. Ge and his colleagues (many of which are involved with the Wake Forest University School of Medicine) have been working on a project with immense practical value: a computer system which, from an MRI or other such input, creates a 3-D model of the human colon, allowing medical practicioners to check for cancerous areas without a painful procedure such as a colonoscopy. (They are also working to extend this idea to endoscopy in general.)

I am writing to tell you about the particular language Dr. Ge has used to describe the project, and the possibilities it brings to mind.

Dr. Ge once said that the team's aim was to create a 3-D "virtual colon" that one could "fly through" using a joystick or similar navigation device. Ever since, his students have been eagerly asking him when the "virtual colon" project will be finished, as they are eager to try the "flythrough" out for themselves. There has also been some whispered classroom discussion about spinoff possibilities in the computer entertainment industry (no doubt people would line up to experience the virtual colon for themselves, blasting away the evil polyps with their trusty ray guns).

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