CompBioMed is a European Commission H2020 funded Centre of Excellence focussed on the use and development of computational methods for biomedical applications. The project has users within academia, industry and clinical environments and is working to train more people in the use of our products and methods. Project partners are (amongst others) SURFsara, the University of Amsterdam, BSC and University College London.

As part of project outreach activities a 6-minute animation, titled Virtual Humans, has been produced that showcases the different fields of research of the project partners. The movie shows the possibilities of using high performance computing (HPC) and computational biomedicine to delve deeper into the processes taking place within the body.

Still from the Virtual Humans movie

We contributed to the creation of the movie by making visualizations of the UvA simulation data on red blood cells. We worked with the team at BSC (who were producing and directing) on a number of scenes showing the UvA simulation, including the visual style, camera movement, etc. Our part of the animation was created using Blender and rendered on national supercomputer Cartesius.

The Virtual Humans film was premiered at the London Science Museum on September 27th, 2017 to a sell-out audience. Since this highly successful event, the film has gained in exposure and popularity, being shown at various science film festivals and private viewings within conferences and invited presentations.

On June 5th, 2018 the AvroTros TV program “De Wereld Van Morgen” (English: “Tomorrow’s World”) featured a segment with Alfons Hoekstra from the University of Amsterdam speaking about the use of a virtual computational twin of the human body for medical purposes. The segment features a few shots from the Virtual Humans animation. The program (in Dutch only) can be viewed here, the segment on virtual humans starts a 18:50 1.

An in-depth technical description of the use of Blender was presented at BCON 2017:

More information:

  1. By the way, watch presenter Jort Kelder discard an HTC Vive headset on the floor at 1:45. For those of us working with VR equipment: that hurt :-)