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Spotlight on Visible Body – why use our comprehensive 3D atlas of the human body?

29 Nov 2019

Corinne Hogan

Visible Body: headIn the months since the Library announced the addition of Visible Body to our suite of electronic resources, 358 members have signed up to use it and another 530+ have opened online sessions, with over 700 page views. This week’s blog looks at what the developers say about their core aims in designing the Atlas and what existing users find beneficial in their experiences of using it.

What is Visible Body?

Visible Body is a unique online and mobile solution for learning anatomy. It aims to provide a place where a user can learn about the complete male and female gross anatomy with thousands of 3D models that span all of the following systems: nervous, skeletal, circulatory, muscular, digestive, urinary, lymphatic, endocrine, respiratory and reproductive. It is possible to interact with every structure in 3D to simulate a dissection lab experience. The dimensional aspect of the tool comes into its own when it is used to rotate, zoom in and out and dissect through superficial anatomy to study deep and hidden structures, or see structures in complete isolation.

In addition, the resource lets users study detailed information, allowing them to learn about common pathologies, and compare 3D models side-by-side with cadaver and diagnostic images. If required, one can delve into the microanatomy of tissue and special organs, including the eye, ear and tongue, or explore the special 3D dental anatomy models. The atlas also offers a host of dissection quizzes which test the specifics of anatomical knowledge.

Visible Body: on tablet

What do Visible Body’s developers say?

‘It’s a great virtual anatomy solution,’ said Andrew Bowditch, CEO at Visible Body. ‘We are all so excited about the potential of this…to reinvent human biology education in a way that will thrill today's learners.’ Bowditch further contends that when the company looked at developing virtual reality learning solutions an anatomy atlas like Visible Body had obvious benefits for students: ‘Go into an anatomy lab and you’ll see groups of students, gathered around a table, and studying a cadaver or a prosection to learn certain structures. Using Visible Body’s highly accurate 3D anatomy models [alongside this teaching] is a natural fit.

‘Our immersive technology is revolutionizing the way students learn, doctors practice, and everyday people explore the human body. Visible Body is the world’s most trusted resource for the human body. Millions of people in over 200 countries have downloaded the Visible Body app in one of seven languages.’

Paul Kellenberger, CEO of zSpace, who also collaborated on developing the product argues: ‘Creating a simple user interface with a natural, intuitive way to rotate, zoom, and scale the anatomical models was an important design element. Teachers and students love the ability to project their research findings to the class…all while interacting with entire body systems, groups, and individual structures. It is obvious that Atlas is created by experts in anatomy visualization and backed by healthcare professionals.’

What do academics and others say?

One user described it as like ‘GPS for the human body’. Another, a chair of Physiology at an American university, argues that Visible Body’s Human Anatomy Atlas: ‘shows the layers of anatomy in a way that is traditionally only seen when dissecting a real cadaver – and even then, it is difficult to see the full integration of human body tissues… Visible Body graphics are so realistic, our students want to reach out and grab them! What I like most is that it incorporates virtual reality but still allows student partners to interact and engage – turning what is typically an individual platform into a social learning environment and stimulating inquiry.’

The 3D models in Visible Body include encyclopaedic reference information, such as structure name, Latin name and anatomical grouping, detailed definitions and pronunciations, descriptions of common injuries, diseases and pathologies. The tool can be profitably used by healthcare professionals, patients, students and any others interested in detailed visualisation of human anatomy. Even personal trainers have been getting in on the act, with one remarking: ‘I use this app multiple times throughout the day, sending quick images to clients with a highlighted muscle, peeling away muscle layers to show clients what we have just worked on.’

How to start using Visible Body

Signing up to use Visible Body is straightforward.

Visible Body - on phone

The Mobile App

  1. Download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, or search for ‘2018 Atlas Perpetual’ on your device store
  2. Email for the code you will need to begin using the app

Please be aware that we have had feedback that the storage requirements for the app are substantial.

Using Visible Body on your browser

Fellows, Members, postgraduate Affiliates and Associates can access Visible Body at Ovid with their College login details:

  1. Log into the College website
  2. Go to Visible Body Human Anatomy Atlas
  3. Click the Launch button. It is a large app and will take a few moments to load, especially the first time

Please see our Visible Body help page for more information and illustrated help.

Corinne Hogan, Senior Information Assistant

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