Review Articles

Plato’s Cave — Knowledge-Based Medicine or Black Swan Technology?




Plato’s CAVETM is a presurgical planning, multidimensional “life space situation room” designed, developed, and introduced to clinical practice by the Department of Radiation Oncology at The Methodist Hospital, located in Houston’s Texas Medical Center. At approximately 500 square feet, Plato’s CAVE was specifically designed to permit a team of physicians to review all available diagnostic images of the patient (Figures 1a, 1b). The initial clinical focus was for interventions within the domain of surgical oncology, including radiation therapy, reconstructive surgery, and organ transplantation. This advanced clinical visualization process, supported by a novel and creative assemblage of FDA-approved, commercially available diagnostic imaging components, is available for all relevant patient care services within The Methodist Hospital System.

The underlying concept is that of a military flight simulator. As opposed to a commercial flight simulator, a fighter pilot environment is a multi-body simulation that records all of the plane’s internal instruments and the pilot’s actions with the digital fly-by-wire avionics system; its external position in relation to its global position; and, with GPS, the absolute spatial (X, Y, Z) position of the squadron and the aggressor(s) within its three-dimensional sphere of influence. This well-vetted process of recording input/output variables and resultant differences along the flight path of interaction is critical for pilots to learn from each other’s experience what works well and what should be improved, all within a real-time frame of reference for action and reaction. The knowledge gained is now being used by unmanned aerial vehicles that are remotely piloted, not unlike the da Vinci surgical robot.

  • Year: 2011
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 27-34
  • DOI: 10.14797/mdcvj.248
  • Published on 1 Jan 2011
  • Peer Reviewed