UAB’s 3D VisCube Will Enable Surgeons to Practice Procedures, Engineers to Test Structures

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Engineering has acquired new multi-screen, immersive 3D display technology – the first of its kind in Alabama – that will enable doctors to practice procedures outside the operating room and enable engineers to test the integrity of structural designs before construction begins.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Engineering has acquired new multi-screen, immersive 3D display technology - the first of its kind in Alabama - that will enable doctors to practice procedures outside the operating room and enable engineers to test the integrity of structural designs before construction begins.

The technology, called VisCube-SXTM, is an immersive virtual-reality system that places users in a computer-generated setting of their choosing.

"This technology is a real breakthrough at UAB because it will enable researchers from many disciplines to further their work in a virtual environment that promotes discovery and learning, which should enhance the accuracy and success of procedures and designs in the field," said Bharat Soni, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The VisCube's 3D projection, which only can be experienced while wearing specially designed polarized glasses, offers users a real-world experience that envelopes them with generated images able to react to movements, actions and directions, Soni said.

"There are many implications for this device - from doctors who want to practice medical procedures before operating on a patient to engineers who want to test the function of a newly designed biomedical device before moving forward with clinical trials," said Alan Shih, Ph.D., a research professor of mechanical engineering.

The VisCube at UAB first was demonstrated on Sept. 25 for members of the UAB Engineering Foundation Council inside the university's Business-Engineering Complex.

"The response to this technology at UAB has been very positive," said Linda Lucas, Ph.D., dean of the UAB School of Engineering. "This tool continues to set the UAB School of Engineering apart as it seeks technologies and opportunities that promote and benefit an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research."

About UAB

The UAB School of Engineering offers students real-world experience while they train in one of its degree programs, which include the only undergraduate biomedical engineering program in Alabama. Students experience cutting-edge research opportunities, industry co-ops and unique internships generated by the school's commitment to interdisciplinary learning.