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Anatomy of an Install

Jul 9, 2009 12:00 PM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

Vanderbilt University’s anatomy lab reaches new heights.


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Perched on the 10th floor of the building, the highest point on campus, the lab is designed with floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the lab with natural light. Technical 
Innovation had to adjust the angle of touchscreens to reduce glare.

Perched on the 10th floor of the building, the highest point on campus, the lab is designed with floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the lab with natural light. Technical Innovation had to adjust the angle of touchscreens to reduce glare.

Teaching arena

The lab also has two teaching arenas that provide instructors a place to teach in a traditional manner. Here, roughly 12 students can gather to watch the instructor as he or she is teaching an exercise. The students can watch the proceedings either first-hand or on the arena’s 65in. Sharp PN-S655 LCD, which displays video from a camera that is attached to one of the two instructor surgical lights. The lights and cameras were provided by the surgical light vendor. For bigger classes, students can sit at their stations and the video can be fed to students’ touchscreens via an AMX AutoPatch Precis routing switcher. For audio, the instructor wears a Telex FMR-1000 wireless lavalier mic that feeds an Anchor Audio AN-1000X powered loudspeaker at each of the stations.

Because the two 65in. LCDs at the teaching arena are not interactive like the touchscreens, a portable annotation podium provides this ability with a Crestron QuickMedia control system, which feeds the video and audio signal to the 27 touchscreens and loud¬speakers via Cat-5. The instructors are also able to record the demonstrations they’ve captured using a Sonic Foundry Mediasite portable recorder that can be disconnected and taken to other classrooms as needed.

One of a kind

Clark has been in the industry since 1983, doing everything from boardrooms to $2 million installations, but he says this project was something entirely new to him.

“Every once in a while, you get a project and you’re going, ‘This is really neat. This is one of those things that nobody else has done,’” he says. In fact, the lab has received so much fanfare that many universities have toured the lab and are looking at doing something similar to their own facilities in the future. Perhaps the word “greasers” will go out of fashion and live its life in historical lab references.


A New Model

While other schools are looking at Vanderbilt Unversity’s new gross anatomy lab for their students, the installation has garnered other interest as well. At press time, Technical Innovation was expecting to receive an order to install six of the touchscreen units used in the Vanderbilt installation at a medical examiner’s office. “They’re looking at this, and they said, ‘It’s perfect. It’s CSI-type stuff,’” Clark says. “You go into the morgue, and they’re going to have six rooms where they’re going to mount these on the wall.” What interested the office most was the USB port. With this feature, the medical examiner could pull up images taken at the crime scene while working on the bodies.


More on the Install

Listen to the two-part Corporate AV podcast series as Technical Innovation’s Bill Clark and Vanderbilt University’s Professor Art Dalley, Ph.D., detail how the new anatomy lab was prepared for the equipment, provide specifics on the installation, and relate how it is used. They provide insight on some unexpected results, how challenges were overcome in the installation, and the operation of this unique new AV system. Dalley also explains more in-depth about how the new system provided a solution to “greasers,” the lab textbooks in the lab, and the meaning behind this word.

How did this project get started?

Dalley: It was decided that our old facilities, which had been built in 1925 and for a class of 75 and we had now expanded to 104 students, was really obsolete and the decision had been made to build a new facility, and it was decided that it should be a state-of-the-art facility. In our old facility, we had entered the computer age, so to speak, by building a computer lab facility adjacent to the gross anatomy lab, and that’s the way it was kind of done initially across the nation. And then it became increasingly evident that we needed to have the computers in the lab right at the table side, right as the students were working and dissecting.

Listen to part 1

Listen to part 2

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