While a GPS-style "navigation system" for surgeons may not seem like the best idea to anyone that's ever been led astray by their dash-mounted co-pilot, it apparently seemed like a good enough idea for a group of researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. While they do stretch the metaphor a bit, the group's TLEMsafe system does provide surgeons with a complete 3D map of the lower body, which can actually be personalized for each individual patient, giving surgeons a reference and means to practice before any actual surgery takes place -- and, yes, even an "automated navigation system" during surgery. Coincidentally, some researchers from the University of Colorado have also just announced that they've developed a similar modeling system that would give surgeons 3D views of arteries and let them see any blockages up close. It's even already been tested on patients, while the University of Twente says its system will be ready for clinical trials in about four years' time.

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Researchers aim to give surgeons 3D maps, directions of human body