At the University of Minnesota's Design of Medical Devices Conference, you can handle human hearts that were bequeathed to the U. You can observe 3D virtual models of medical devices and the human anatomy.

But one of the cooler things is set up in a room in the McNamara Alumni Center. The ExploraDome is giving conference-goers a virtual journey inside the human heart. About 40-50 people a day have gone inside the dome to lie flat on their backs and look up and the twisting and turning trip through the heart.

It is a nifty thing, but also indicative of a major area of interest at this year's convention: Virtual modeling is seen as a way to allow medical device makers to possibly lower costs and decrease the time to market for new devices. When the ExploraDome isn't showing a human being's inner space, it is presenting views of outer space, including moon phases and the seasons and the solar system.