Cavemen aren't just useful for stupid Brendan Frasier movies and Geico commercials. Scientists at the University of Calgary created a giant virtual hospital patient called CAVEman—CAVE is an acronym for cave automated virtual environment—and made him a guinea pig for all things anatomical.
By collaborating with graphic artists, the scientists made 3-D images of everything from the funny bone to the kidney to each nerve in your brain. Then, they recreated these body parts using a projector. CAVEman started off as someone who got free massages all the time—he was originally created for massage therapists in training—but now he's become the virtual environment for MRIs and biopsies. The future doesn't look so hot for him, either: in the next phase, they're going to put tactile feedback sensors on him and make him simulate respiration and blood flow so they can test cutting edge treatments on him before operating on real humans.
Sucks to be you, CAVEman.
Images by Christoph W. Sensen and Manami Yajima for the University of Calgary
Inside a Cave [Popular Science]