Google Maps Software Now Lets Your Explore Depths of the Human  Body

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Google Maps makes it easy to pan, zoom and search the world—and now it can do the same for the deep recesses of the human body, too.

A new project by researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia has been borrowing the algorithms used to assemble and run Google Maps to create large, explorable depictions of human tissue, right down to the individual cell. The first example brings together terabytes of data acquired from imaging a hipbone with a scanning electron microscope.

The result, which you can explore here, has been used to perform molecular analysis of nutrient transport that in the past would have taken 25 years—but can now be done in a few weeks, according to the researchers. It's expected that other institutions will use the same technique in the future—including Harvard scientists who aim to do something similar with mouse brains. [UNSW via PopSci]