The Virtual Temporal Bone

August 1st, 1997 - July 30th, 1999

Categories: Applications, Education, Virtual Medicine


Mastery of the complex anatomic interrelationships of the human temporal bone is an essential part of otolaryngologic residency training, requiring untold hours of study not only from anatomic and pathologic texts, but also from within the practical realm of the temporal bone lab and operating room. For the occasional ear surgeon, maintenance of this knowledge through home studies and courses remains essential to keep the skills of temporal bone drilling honed. Unfortunately, the time and costs required in both of these endeavors are enormous. In this relatively new era of powerful yet easily accessible computers, there emerges a new potential tool for both the learning and maintenance of temporal bone anatomy knowledge.

This joint project between the University of Illinois Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and the School of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences, has created the first generation of a fully interactive and anatomically precise human temporal bone computer model, designed to make use of the cutting-edge 3-dimensional virtual environment known as the CAVE™.