Voxel-Man is a pioneer in medical visualization and simulation technology. The Voxel-Man project dates back to around 1984, when a research group headed by Professor Karl Heinz Höhne at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf made their first experiments on 3D visualization of tomographic images from CT and MRI. At RSNA 1987, the first ever 3D reconstruction of the complete brain of a living human being could be presented.
In the 1990s, a new kind of interactively explorable virtual body model was developed, which integrates spatial and descriptive knowledge of human anatomy, function, and radiological appearance. This framework proved a perfect match for the highly realistic, full color renderings, created from the Visible Human data of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Among others, this work led to the anatomical atlases Voxel-Man 3D-Navigator: Brain and Skull, Voxel-Man 3D-Navigator: Inner Organs, Voxel-Man 3D-Navigator: Upper Limb (all published by Springer) and EUS meets Voxel-Man, a training system for endoscopic ultrasound (published by Hitachi Medical Systems). Applications outside the medical domain include the Virtual Mummy and the Visible Dog.
Around 2000, experiments with the newly available force feedback devices showed their potential for medical applications. In close cooperation with clinical partners, a first prototype of a surgery simulator for temporal bone dissection was developed, which combines unsurpassed visual realism and haptic feedback. In 2005, the Voxel-Man Group was established and the Voxel-Man TempoSurg simulator was introduced to the market.
In 2009, the Voxel-Man Group received an EXIST-Forschungstransfer grant from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) for the development of a dental simulator. Its completely rewritten basic design provides the common platform for all Voxel-Man training simulators. In 2011, the second generation of the temporal bone drilling simulator called Voxel-Man Tempo and the first generation of the tooth preparation simulator Voxel-Man Dental were presented, later followed by Voxel-Man My Cases for importing own cases from CT and Voxel-Man Sinus for endoscopic sinus surgery. The so far latest software update was released in 2016.
Today, Voxel-Man training simulators are used by leading universities and hospitals in more than 20 countries, reaching from Honululu to Tokyo. The growing interest in our simulators is also reflected by an increasing number of independent validation studies.
About the name
The name Voxel-Man is derived from the term volume element or voxel, the elementary component of a digital representation of a three-dimensional object (in analogy to a picture element or pixel in a two-dimensional image). It refers to the digital representation of the human body.