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You can put your money on virtual reality and virtual worlds becoming part of our daily lives. One of its greatest impacts will be felt on education and health. You can already get hints of the value educators (and others) placed on 3D virtual tools from the success of virtual globes like Google Earth. Virtual worlds are now commonplace on things like flight simulators and massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).
When it comes to interactive virtual views, we have gone to space and around the globe. So, it’s not surprising that we are also going within ourselves on a virtual journey of the human body. One of the finest tools available online is Visible Body. Unfortunately, it’s not free anymore. But you can see the beauty of it thanks to the free demo that allows you to explore the head and neck.
If you are disappointed that there aren’t any free interactive anatomy tools, worry not. Here are six:
You can trust Google to take you everywhere. Google Body is as cool as any of their other visualization apps. On Google Body, you can view the underlying anatomical layers one by one using a slider, switch on labels to identity each body part, use the search box as a search engine for any body part (muscles, organs, bones etc), and what’s more, you can also share the exact scene you are viewing by copying and pasting the URL.
The Google Body browser is a Google Labs project that renders on Google Chrome and any other browser that supports WebGL (like Firefox 4 Beta). As a Lab project, it might be a bit error prone at times when rendering the views.
The interactive website aims to educate entertain both kids and adult on bodily health; understanding the human anatomical structure is just part of the process. The Virtual Body takes you on four tours – The Human Brain, Skeleton, Human Heart, and Digestive Tract. Then there are some cool standalone tours within each.
For instance, check out the narrated tours on Virtual Body. There’s a game on the skeleton thrown in too that’s sure to make you rote up on the facts as you “˜build’ your skeleton. Also, don’t miss the animated heart section.
DirectAnatomy.com comes with an interactive interface that comes with four angles of view allowing you to browse through more than 1,200 annotated anatomy images. A clickable menu on the left displays the specific body part on the right. The human body tour also gives you an insight into the physiological and pathological makeup of our bodies.
The BBC’s webpage is a resource rich place to discover and play interactive games while learning all about the human body. The games include – Senses challenge, Organs Game, Skeleton Game, Muscle Game, and Nervous System Game. The games are superbly designed and mostly involve dropping a body part onto a human figure.
This one is not a fully fledged anatomical course, but a cool and short 10 question quiz on different body parts. It is a Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History resource. With a mouse rollover you have to match the thumbnail with its location on the skeletal structure named “˜Jerome’. You can also turn Jerome around for another view. “˜Jerome’ is actually a papier-mÃ¢chÃ© anatomical model preserved in the institute.
There’s no doubt that the visualization provided by these virtual tours are the quickest way to explore and learn. These browser based virtual tools aren’t just for fun’s sake but they do put the fun back into education. Let us know your take on this.