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Transparent Anatomical Mannequin Upgrade

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Promoting ET Through K-12 Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1207.1 - 8.1207.5



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Paper Authors

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Kenneth Reid

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Elaine Cooney

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3547

Transparent Anatomical Mannequin Upgrade

Elaine M. Cooney, Kenneth Reid Purdue School of Engineering and Technology Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis


The Ruth Lily Health Education Center has had TAM1 (Transparent Anatomical Mannequin) since the mid-1980’s. She is a life size model of an adult female with clear plastic “skin” and organs that light up. She is used to teach pre-school, elementary and middle school children about health and fitness. For instance, each year hundreds of fifth graders come to the Health Education Center to see and hear TAM explain the human reproduction system.

In the original configuration, one proprietary “box” controlled not only TAM’s lights and rotation, but also the audio and video tapes. The “box” could only play one program, and it hadn’t been changed since the system had been installed over 15 years ago. The health education staff wanted to update the content of the audio-video, but this required more than just a new video tape – it required new hardware. Sonar Studios agreed to work with the teachers at the center to develop a new script, and turn this script into digital video. But a new interface between the computer sourcing the digital video and TAM was also needed. Part of the new interface was given as a class project in an upper level course.

System Overview

The piece of the system that the visitors are most aware of is TAM herself. (See Figure 1) She is focal point of the theater with audio and video screens on either side. TAM is a life size model of an adult female that you can see inside of. All the major organs are shown: brain, lungs, heart, bones, arteries, stomach, etc – including the female reproductive organs. Each of the 19 organs is lit by a 24 volt dc bulb. These lights are controlled by individual data lines. A common +24V is supplied to all the bulbs, and specific bulbs are lit by grounding the individual data line. There are also 120V ac spot lights above and below TAM. Finally, TAM can rotate almost 360º by means of a dc motor mounted in her pedestal.

A Mac computer running MAC-OS 9 controls the system. Digital video and audio clips are stored and played back by the computer. With the use of a video card that can control up to three monitors, two screens of video are displayed overhead to the audience, and a touch screen monitor is used by instructors to select content. The MAC program Director coordinates the entire script, including video, audio, lights and

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual ConferenceFigure 1:TAM & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Reid, K., & Cooney, E. (2003, June), Transparent Anatomical Mannequin Upgrade Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11684

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