Cool bones: High-tech Hopkins training tool projects spooky skeletons

Video: Deirdre Hammer

On Halloween night, from their haunted hiding places beneath Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, scary skeletons will come to life in the dark depths of Hackerman Hall—and begin to dance!

It's no holiday gag. These creepy projections are generated by magic mirrors, a new high-tech tool that's designed to teach future doctors about anatomy.

Working with physicians from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the project is led by Nassir Navab, a Whiting School of Engineering computer science professor and director of the Computer-Aided Medical Procedures Lab. The goal is to help tomorrow's doctors get better acquainted with where critical body parts like bones, organs, blood vessels, and muscles are typically nestled beneath the skin.

Spoiler alert: The machine doesn't actually X-ray the people who stand in front of it. Instead, it inserts anatomically correct three-dimensional body parts within the participant's outline.

If you visit the campus, you can check out the free, public magic mirror screen in the third-floor south lobby of Malone Hall. But beware—it may be a bone-chilling experience.

David S. Pumpkins dancing with two skeletons gif