Elsevier 3D interactive anatomy tools use advanced gaming technology to bring the body to life

For medical and health professions students, learning anatomy is a challenge. There are hundreds of terms and structures to learn as well as functions of the body and how they relate. Add to that the lack of time, lack of staff to teach anatomy and the lack of donated human bodies for dissection, and the picture becomes even more complicated.

Today’s medical students have grown up with advanced computer games, and they are used to games as educational tools. That’s why Elsevier has partnered with Cyber-Anatomy Inc., an Iowa-based company that creates interactive learning systems for medical students, to develop state-of-the-art software using advanced gaming technology for learning, reviewing, and teaching anatomy. Cyber-Anatomy approached Elsevier because the Netter brand, of which Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy is the leading product, was considered dominant in anatomy, and Elsevier saw the potential.

Elsevier and Cyber-Anatomy worked for two years to fine-tune the tool, usage and functions of the gaming environment. The collaboration involved bioengineers, anatomists and graphic artists. The result is a new line of interactive anatomy products, InteractElsevier, which give students and faculty more time and flexibility to master and teach anatomy. “It’s like having a cadaver at home,” said Eric Ojerholm, a second-year student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

How it works

The goal is to build the body as you want to learn. Starting with a blank slate, users construct the components of anatomy they want to study. For example, to learn the shoulder area, they load the bones, muscles, arteries and nerves to create the ”body.” Approaching the body by regions, such as upper limbs and lower limbs, or systems, such as skeletal, muscular or circulatory, the user can peel, hide, label and make structures transparent, and rotate the body freely using the interactive buttons to deploy the tools.

The products

Both come in web and virtual-reality formats. The web versions allow students to use the software outside the classroom. The virtual-reality systems are classroom-based tools for visualizing the human body in true 3D. The products are in final stages of beta testing.

For more information visit: www.interactelsevier.com.