VHM: Visualization of Organs

Visible Human Male:  Visualization of Healthy and Diseased Organs

This exhibit explores specific organs, such as the stomach, kidneys, and lungs, from the Visible Human Male in normal and diseased states. The Visible Human Male is a product from the National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project. The male dataset consists of 1mm think sections of a male cadaver meant to represent normal male anatomy. Students from the University of Illinois at Chicago's Biomedical Visualization Graduate Program utilized innovative digital techniques to digitally reconstruct the organs and to add texture and color to them in order to achieve extremely realistic results. The National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago provided segmented data from the AnatLab* project for the Visible Human Male.

One of the goals of this exhibit is to inspire and educate the public about what normal anatomy may look like and what common diseases may develop in those organs. This allows for a better understanding of certain diseases and what that pathology might look like inside the body.



  • Leah Lebowicz, MS, Clinical Assistant Professor, Biomedical Visualization, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Chicago - Biomedical Visualization Graduate Students: Virginia E. Fulford, Kenzie Green, Katherine M. Henning, Meredith L.Hoffman, I-Hsuan G. Hsu, Rayshueh Ku, Catherine A. Lamy, Myungsun Lee , Nga Ly, Meredith L. Osborn, Elliot A. Padilla, Robert C. Shonk, Faith Simunyu, Jill V. Tessler, Kathleen M. Tetzlaff, Xochitl P. Vinaja, McKenzie L. Wampler, Melissa Zachritz
  • University of Illinois at Chicago – NMHM Chicago Biomedical Visualization Intern: Lauren Kalinoski




Hand Augmented Reality App (HARA)

On display with the VHM Organs exhibit is the Hand Augmented Reality App (HARA).  HARA uses augmented reality technology to show the anatomy of the human hand. A 3D printed model encourages users to come closer, as well as giving them a physical point of reference. The Augmented Reality app then lets the user 'look inside' of the 3d printed model, showing high quality digital 3D models based on patient data. This new way of looking at anatomical models emphasizes the physical relationships of the anatomy, and takes advantage of both digital and physical media.

Educators have recognized that traditional methods of teaching anatomy can be slow, expensive, and inefficient. A variety of new methods for teaching anatomy are emerging. HARA is an augmented reality learning app for mobile devices. The app detects a display with a 3D printed model, and displays 3D models of the relevant anatomy, in the proper scale, position, and orientation. HARA focuses on the human hand, due to its complexity, frequent usage, and high rate of injury and disease.

The app was created by Rex Twedt, NMHM Chicago's Biomedical Visualization fellow.





*This material is based in part on the AnatLab Virtual Anatomy Laboratory which was used by permission of the National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago, pursuant to a license agreement with Eolas Technologies, Inc.