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Chicago brain surgeon Ali Alaraj talks about the first time he viewed the brain using the CAVE2, showing arteries in background.

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Future science: Using 3D worlds to visualize medical data

CHICAGO — Take a walk through a human brain? Fly over the surface of Mars? Computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago are pushing science fiction closer to reality with a wraparound virtual world where a researcher wearing 3D glasses can do all that and more. In the system, known as CAVE2, an 8-foot-high screen encircles the viewer 320 degrees. A panorama of images springs from 72 stereoscopic liquid crystal display panels, conveying a dizzying sense of being able to touch what’s not really there.

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