After the removal of an outer layer of bones around the jaw, the dissection shows blood vessels and sensory nerves to the lower teeth and chin. The process was slow, in part because the Kodachrome film had to be sent to Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., to be developed. Mr. Gruber had to check that the photos came out satisfactorily before Dr. Basset could proceed with his dissection. Photo courtesy of New York Times
This amazing and wonderful work on human anatomy in three dimensions will soon be online thanks to Stanford University.
Dr. David L. Bassett, was an expert in anatomy and dissection at the University of Washington. For more than 17 years, he was engaged in creating what has been called the most painstaking and detailed set of images of the human body, inside and out, ever produced. In 3-D.
Working closely with William Gruber, the inventor of the View-Master, the three-dimensional viewing system that GAF Corporation popularized as a toy in the 1960s, Dr. Bassett created the 25-volume “Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy” in 1962. It included some 1,500 pairs of slides, along with line drawings that made the details more discernible. The paired slides could be examined with a View-Master, making the chest cavity look cavernous, and making details of structure and tissue stand out unforgettably.
The atlas was an immediate success and the images became an important resource for medical students, even more so as schools have de-emphasized gross anatomy and cadaver work. But the atlas eventually went out of publication in the 1960s.
Thanks to Stanford University’s school of medicine, however, the work will soon be available to the world. The school is bringing the images online, (See a sampling.). The school has also worked with eHuman, a company in Silicon Valley that hopes to charge students and the curious for access to the trove. Rolling a computer mouse over an image at the eHuman site will highlight anatomical details, and bring up the line drawings from the atlas. So far access to the head and neck collection is $8 a month. Nothing else is online yet.
The Bassett Collection on Flickr is here.
Access to The Bassett Online anatomical collection can be purchased here. This isa must purchase for dental students, researchers and clinicians alike.
The masseter muscle of mastication reflected back to expose the jawbone (mandible) and the related vessels, nerves and muscles.