Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

The Human Body Online and in 3-D?

Pretty please, don’t miss this excellent story today in the New York Times by an old colleague of mine, John Schwartz, about amazing images of the human body that were compiled by University of Washington anatomy and dissection expert David L. Bassett and View-Master inventor William B. Gruber six decades ago.

Together, they created the 25-volume “Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy,” which was published in 1962 and was soon out of print.

Now Stanford University’s School of Medicine is putting the astonishing images online, working with Silicon Valley’s eHuman. Right now, the Times reports, just the head and neck collection is online for $8 a month, but there is more to come.

It seems well worth it. As Schwartz writes:

“Even without the stereoscopic boost, the images are stunning, though perhaps not best examined over breakfast. Blood vessels cluster in a cobwebby tangle along a spinal column, and pelvic bones stand out like butterflies against a stark black field. The back of a man’s head, its layers of flesh and bone sliced away, shows the excavation from the scalp down to the brain as if looking at a stratified canyon wall. The original Kodachrome slides, carefully preserved, still provide images of tremendous clarity.”

He notes that it will eventually be possible for those with special glasses to see the images in 3-D too.

Google (GOOG) has been long tinkering on a version of human-body mapping, dubbed Google Body, a concept much like Google Earth, with many partners including eHuman and Stanford.

But this work–done well before anyone had the sophisticated tech tools we have now–seems just perfect.

Below are some pictures by William B. Gruber from the Bassett Collection:


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