Neil's News

Wooden Brain

4 January 2008

Last month I took a left-right MRI scan, reconstructed it, and rerendered top-bottom and front-back scans. It was interesting to manipulate the data and extract information which while previously present, was not previously visible.

Another method to visualize a complex 3D object is to build a model. The dimensions of the MRI data cuboid are almost exactly 3x4x5. Accordingly, I obtained 60 one-inch cubes (it's the USA, forgive the Imperial measurements), arranged them appropriately, varnished the 94 outside faces, printed nine carefully selected cross-sections and their mirror images, sliced the prints into 266 squares and glued them to the correct internal faces.

The result is quite pleasing. When fully assembled, the outside looks like an unremarkable wooden block.

[Brain puzzle: Complete]

Carefully slide away a whole row and one of two sagittal planes is revealed.

[Brain puzzle: Sagittal slice]

Three coronal planes are visible in the other horizontal axis.

[Brain puzzle: Coronal slice]

Four different transverse planes are also available.

[Brain puzzle: Transverse slice]

More interestingly, one can 'dig' into the brain to carve out custom shapes.

[Brain puzzle: Custom slice]

Of course the most fun is to scramble all 60 blocks and reassemble them like a big geeky puzzle. It takes about 20 minutes to solve.

[Brain puzzle: Scrambled pieces]

Update: Alexandre Girard created a plexiglass version.

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