Audible Human Project Audible Human Project Logo University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine Logo University of Illinois Chicago College of Egineering Logo

The Audible Human Project

Grant: NIH EB012142, 2010-2015.

The Visible Human Project (VHP) of the National Library of Medicine has catalyzed the development of advanced visualization software that has aided in anatomy education and has been an invaluable resource to biomedical researchers. It has aided in the development of numerous technologies, with applications spanning from improving imaging technology to simulating surgical procedures. Our long-term goal is to develop a comparable “Audible Human Project®” (AHP). This would accurately simulate the production, transmission and noninvasive measurement (for example using stethoscopes) of naturally-occurring sounds associated with cardiovascular, pulmonary and gastro-intestinal function. It would also model externally introduced sounds, for example via percussion at the skin surface. Such a comprehensive tool would have a significant impact on medical education and research. It could catalyze the development of new inexpensive, portable auscultative methods, as well as more advanced multimode acoustic imaging modalities. From an educational perspective, recent studies have emphasized the continued importance of skilled auscultation in medicine and the fact that this skill is in decline among younger physicians. The AHP could help provide a more effective educational experience. A student would not just listen to audio recordings. He or she would be able to interactively vary anatomy and pathology, as well as sensor position, type and contact pressure, so as to hear, “see” and “feel” (if integrated within a haptic environment) the results and associate them with quantifiable metrics. Our current efforts are aimed at developing and experimentally validating an upper torso acoustic model focused on the pulmonary system. This model will simulate sound transmission and measurement via contact sensors placed on the torso surface. It will also simulate the transmission and measurement of externally introduced sound via the airways or via percussion on the torso surface.