Inside Explorer is an interactive visualization system that enables museum and science centre visitors interactively explore subjects scanned using medical imaging systems to learn and discover for themselves.
Inside Explorer is an interactive exhibit system based on powerful interactive visualisation hardware and specialised software that unlocks the power of discovery for museum visitors and museum curators alike. Using touch gestures alone, visitors to museums and science centres can investigate the most of complex of subjects that have been scanned using CT (Computed Tomography) or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) medical scanning systems. Subjects can vary from human anatomy, animals, natural history subjects or even ancient mummies. Anything that can be scanned, can be visualised, explored and used as the basis for an interactive experience. Visitors can peel aware layers, rotate, zoom and cut through subjects virtually and reveal hidden interior detail that has not been previously possible.
WHAT IS INSIDE EXPLORER?
The system, also known as The Virtual Autopsy Table, was developed originally to support forensic autopsy work with digital postmortems, but has now been adapted to for science communication in public spaces, initially in the area of anatomy as interactive exhibits in museums and science centres around the world. The system has already been installed for this purpose in USA, Sweden, Singapore, Spain, UK and Kazakhstan. Now it is being used to visualize and educate museum visitors about subjects from mummies to Martian meterorites.
WHO CAN USE INSIDE EXPLORER?
Inside Explorer is easy to use and requires no training or special knowledge. Visitors, young and old, are ehthusiastically interacting within seconds of walking up to the system. Since Inside Explorer can work with any subject that can be scanned, it is suitable for a wide range of institutions such as science centres, ancient history museums, natural history museums, aquariums or even zoos. Inside Explorer can be supplied with a number of anatomy datasets from existing databases. However, often musuems scan their own subjects or partner with local hospitals to conduct their own research. With Inside Explorer, new discoveries can immediately become the basis of a compelling intractive exhibit, and used to let visitors explore and experience the thrill of discovery for themselves. As new discoveries are made or new subjects become availaible the system can quickly and easily be updated to refresh the system with new content.
CASE STUDY - BRITISH MUSEUM (UK)
Inside Explorer Table has allowed a virtual autopsy to be undertaken on one of the British Museum’s most well-known mummies and has revealed he was probably murdered. The Interactive Institute have provided a Inside Explorer Table so visitors to the Museum will have an opportunity to use the new non-invasive technology and discover new ways of looking at life and death in Early Egypt.
One of the key attractions in the Early Egypt gallery (Gallery 64) at the British Museum is the body of a man who was buried in about 3500 BC at the site of Gebelein in Upper Egypt. Known as Gebelein Man, he was wrapped in linen and matting, and was placed in a crouched position in a shallow grave. Discovered in 1896, this mummy is one of the best preserved individuals known from Ancient Egypt, but about whom we actually knew very little. Although he has been in the British Museum’s collections for over 100 years (acquired in 1900), it was not until 2012 that he was CT scanned for the first time.
Inside Explorer Table make it possible for visitors to explore this natural mummy for themselves and learn how we have only now been able to discover his age and determine the surprising way that he died. Using the interactive touchscreen and the gesture based interface, it is possible to strip away the skin to expose his skeleton, and make virtual slices to view his internal organs and his brain, still present in the skull, organs that were often removed when the ancient Egyptians began to artificially mummify bodies. Information points at relevant locations will guide the visitor to explore the more significant discoveries.
Watch video from British Museum
A virtual rotation of the body shows the shape of his pelvis (hip bones), which confirms he was a male and zooming in on his leg and arm bones one can see the fusion lines that indicate he had only recently finished growing and was probably 18-21 years old when he died. Consistent with his age, his teeth, fully visible for the first time, show light wear and no dental problems.
‘This technology allow us to learn more about life and death in ancient Egypt, but most importantly our visitors can take part in that exploration and discovery process"
- Neal Spencer, Keeper of Ancient Egypt of Sudan, British Museum, London
In addition, these new scans are allowing us to visualize something more unexpected. A cut in his skin over his left shoulder blade doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the 3D visualisation of the CT scan shows that this was probably caused by a sharp pointed weapon 1.5-2cm wide that penetrated the underlying shoulder blade (scapula). The absence of any signs of healing and the severity of the injuries suggest that this can be considered the cause of death. Read more here.
Weapons as symbols of power and status are fairly common in the graves as this period, but evidence of violence are extremely rare. The lack of other defensive wounds suggests the injury was not a result of warfare, and that perhaps he didn’t even see it coming and could have been murdered. He has been on display for many decades, but it is only now, through the use of modern science and state-of-the-art technology that we are beginning to understand how Gebelein man lived and died.
Partner: British Museum
Location: London, UK
Type: Temporay exhibition
Project: Gebelein man
Hardware: 55" mobile multitouch table
Content: CT scan of Gebelein Man
Additional services provided: Data interpretation, visualization expertize, forensic consultting, evaluation
Client website, www.britishmuseum.org
About exhibit: "Virtual autopsy:explore a naturalmummy from early Egypt"
Related blog post: "Murder and mayhem in Predynastic Egypt"
Media: Pictures on Flickr
BBC News (UK) , "British Museum exhibit Gebelein Man died 'violent death'"
Dagens Nyheter (SE), "3D-teknik avslöjar förhistoriskt mord"
The Times (UK), "Murder at the British Museum: cold case experts hunt for clues to ancient mystery"
Daily Mail (UK), " Scan reveals 5,500-year-old murder mystery of British Museum's most famous mummy"
The Telegraph (UK), "Revealed: the secrets of a 5,500-year-old mummy murder mystery"
Channel 4 (UK), "Museum sleuths unearth murdered mummy's secret"
SVT (SE), "Ny kriminalteknik avslöjar mumiemord"
ITV News (UK),"From vimeo.com"
ABC News (US), "Modern Science Unravels Ancient Mummy Mysteries"
Dagens Nyheter (SE), "Så avslöjade svensk teknik mumiens död"
SVT (SE), "Vetenskapens Värld"
CBS News (US), "3D mapping solves 5,000-year-old murder"
CTV (CA), "Virtual autopsy reveals 5,000-year-old mummy was murdered"
Reuters (INT), "Virtual autopsy reveals ancient mummy murder"
Museum for All (UK), "British Museum opens new interactive exhibit in Egyptian gallery using Virtual ..."
EXAMPLE OF PARTNERS AND CLients
We have been working with several leading institutions world wide in order to design a system that will give the user of a unprecedented experience. Below you can find some of pur clients.
National Museum for Natural History, London, UK
British Museum, London, UK
The Field Museum, Chicago, US
Singapore Science Centre, Singapore
National Museum for Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Visualization Center C, Norrköping, Sweden
Eureka Science Center, San Sebastian, Spain
Glasgow Science Center, Glasgow, Scotland
Mobius Science Center, Spokane, US
Hüttinger Exhibition Enginering, Germany
Inside Explorer and its predecessor Virtual Autopsy Table have been featured in media world-wide. Below you can find some of the links to selected magazines, webblogs, videos etc.
Inside Explorer is today available as a product. For commercial and partner requests please use contact details below.
thomas [dot] rydell [at] tii [dot] se
+46 (0) 707 731709
david [dot] hughes [at] tii [dot] se
+44 (0) 7802 636304
Background AND RESEARCH
Inside Explorer is based on medical visualization technology and research developed in a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, Visualization Center C and Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization, Sweden. Together the team holds world leading expertize within volumetric rendering and illumination, medical imaging and interaction design. Inside
Inside Explorer is a development of the Virtual Autopsy Table, that was first presented in June 2009. Since then The Virtual Autopsy Table has gained a vast interest from both media and the industry. The table has been featured by a large number of technology weblogs, magazines and TV shows, it has also been presented at several high-level events and conferences such as the world expo in Shanghai.
The Virtual Autopsy Table is since 2010 commercially available for the clinical use through the Swedish medical technology company, Sectra AB. Sectra develops and sells IT-systems and products for radiology, mammography and orthopedic departments.
Since 2012 the table is also commercially available, under the name Inside Explorer, for museum and science centers.