The Human Cochlea
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One of the most structurally intricate organs in the body, the cochlea presents a challenge to medical illustration and visual communication. Traditional 2-D illustrations are inadequate for presenting comprehensive views of cochlear physiology due to the complex radial and spiral arrangement of its anatomical components and the membranous and cellular motions that translate sound frequency within this complex structure. My research at UIC involves the creation of a digital 3-D model of the human cochlea. I will use this model to create an animation highlighting the overall structure of the cochlea, the arrangement and variation of its cellular and membranous elements, the impact of frequencies on the basilar membrane in the form of a traveling wave, and the consequent response of the sensory cells. I digitally painted this image in Photoshop in order to better illustrate the relationship between the modiolus and the labyrinth of the cochlea. In doing so, I discovered the complexity and beauty of the inner ear organ, and decided to dedicate my research to creating the most comprehensive, innovative, and visually appealing depictions of the cochlea that I can make.