Unless you work for a medical school or a research lab, you probably haven't priced out cadavers lately. If you were to do so, however, you'd find that they generally cost anywhere from nothing up to around US$10,000. On top of that, however, there are transport and disposal fees, the need for specialized storage facilities and staff, and the fact that they're not reusable. That's why SynDaver Labs has been creating ultra-realistic synthetic human bodies and body parts for several years now. Instead of filling in for a dead body, its latest product plays the part of a live patient.

Known as the SynDaver Patient, the life-size model is made from the same proprietary composite materials as the company's other products. The resulting artificial muscles, tendons, veins, arteries, nerves and organs are claimed to very closely match the mechanical, chemical, thermal, and dielectric properties of living tissue – something that can't necessarily be said for real cadavers. It even has a removable skin.

Additionally, however, the Patient features a tablet-controlled "physiology engine that controls body motions and all aspects of synthetic biology." This means that as medical students, first responders or other people are practicing procedures on it, its simulated autonomic nervous system will respond with appropriate variations in parameters such as arm and leg motion, respiration rate, heart rate, body temperature, blink rate, pupil dilation, and various others.

What's more, because that physiology engine is open-source, users can custom-program it to represent specific conditions or injuries.

The SynDaver Patient can also be used for practicing ultrasound, fluoroscopy, X-ray and CT imaging, along with surgical procedures involving tools such as lasers, plasma knives and sonic blades. It's available now, for US$85,000.

Later this year, the company should be releasing a Basic version of its existing Synthetic Human – the latter model not only features full human anatomy, but also functioning circulatory and respiratory systems – along with Preemie and Newborn models. All three should be priced at about $15,000.

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