Artist and technologist Alexander Tsiaras explores the unseen human body through his work, “painting” the human anatomy using volume data. Tsiaras, who recently authored From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds and The Architecture and Design of Man and Woman: The Marvel of the Human Body, Revealed shows us development of the body from conception to birth and beyond.
The TED Talk takes us through conception to the miraculous moment of birth (viewers are warned of graphic content). It’s a rollercoaster ride as the fertilised ovum divides a few hours after fusion…and divides anew every 12 to 15 hours. In 25 days, the heart chamber starts developing, in 32 days, it’s the arms and hands. 36 days mark the beginning of the primitive vertebrae, these weeks marking the period with the most rapid development of the foetus.
“If the foetus continues to grow at this speed for the entire 9 months, it would be 1.5 tons at birth,” the talk informs us. At 45 days, the embryo’s heart beats twice as fast as the mother’s and 51 days, the retina, nose and fingers start developing. At 12 weeks, the gender is yet to be determined.
Tsiaras reflects on the magic of it all, “It’s pretty spectacular… these two simple cells that have this unbelievable machinery that will become the magic of you.”
He offered, “I’m going to show you something pretty unique. Here’s a human heart at 25 days. It’s just basically two strands. And like this magnificent origami, cells are developing at one million cells per second at four weeks, as it’s just folding on itself. Within five weeks, you start to see the early atrium and the early ventricles. Six weeks, these folds are now beginning with the papilla on the inside of the heart actually being able to pull down each one of those valves in your heart until you get a mature heart.”
The author of Body Voyage and co-author of Information Architects remarks, “It’s mystery, it’s magic, it’s divinity. …Basically by the time you’re nine months and you’re given birth, you have almost 60,000 miles of vessels inside your body. And only one mile is visible.”