Augmented anatomy lessons data recovery iso

Having the power to dissect and analyse a heart, all in glorious augmented reality, might sound like a scene straight out of a science fiction film, but thanks to innovations from software company 3d4medical tutors and students now have access to a new useful resource. The technology is disrupting traditional methods of learning by allowing the educator and student to experience medical education in a new way, revolutionising the teaching of complex subjects such as anatomy.

AV magazine first saw the solutions in action during a live demonstration at the BETT educational tech tradeshow. The seminar audience looked on in awe as medical education team lead, edel lynch and senior medical product specialist, sophie madden interacted with a virtual human body using apple’s augmented reality platform, arkit.Rendering engine


running the complete anatomy application on an ipad pro, they showed how the product makes it possible to investigate layers of the stomach, apply a fracture to the neck of the femur or dissect an interactive 3D model of a beating heart using the patented cut-through technology.

Solving problems – anatomy is a fascinating subject; however, it can be challenging for students to grasp due to structures often being hidden and hard to visualise. The human anatomy is not two-dimensional and teaching effectively from a flat textbook is not ideal. It is important for students to be able to imagine and manipulate a whole structure for them to apply the knowledge in clinical practice, but this is not easy if they have never seen a moving muscle or traced an artery.Medical education

3D4Medical’s flagship product, complete anatomy solves these issues and is helping transform how anatomy is taught and studied around the world. Currently available on devices such as iphone, ipad, mac and windows, an android version is launching soon. The ability to share content created on any device via the cloud makes it a powerful collaborative platform too.

3D4Medical’s ethos is that innovation can help overcome some of the common issues in education. How do teachers keep their students’ attention for a full 50-minute lecture? And how is this achieved whilst addressing different learning styles? Problems such as these which are linked to teaching are now a little closer to being solved by harnessing the power of augmented reality.Augmented reality

Having studied neuroscience at trinity college in dublin, lynch is familiar with traditional medical teaching methods as well as their shortcomings.

“lessons could become very crowded and when my class walked from station to station it was difficult to see over people’s shoulders,” she says. “you were lucky to even get a glimpse of the structures the teacher was pointing out. After the lab sessions all I had was images and textbooks to refer to when studying the anatomy of the human brain.

“the teaching of anatomy has failed to evolve and adapt with technology. However, we believe that with the help of technology we can make studying anatomy more enjoyable, engaging and relevant to today’s world.”

augmented reality

Medical conditions – complete anatomy allows students to think about cause and effect. “you can apply a fracture to the neck of the femur and see the results, all in 3D,” says lynch. “we can also upload an image of an X-ray, add a fracture and see it on a 3D model. Within seconds of using this technology we have recreated a medical condition.”

But the potential success of new applications such as complete anatomy will not be down to eye-catching innovation alone. Studies have shown that actively engaging students in lessons results in a higher level of understanding and retention.

Active learning also creates a sense of community within the classroom.Medical education as well as being an interactive atlas, the complete anatomy platform allows you to create and share content. Students can write study notes and lecturers can produce courses to share with students. Pupils can be guided through the model by their professor in the classroom and then bring that anatomy to life again on their own devices.

“we see this being incredibly valuable for students who don’t have access to cadaver labs because they can dissect a model from their ipads and explore the anatomy,” says madden.

Complete anatomy’s augmented reality heart displays in real-life scale, making it useful for visualising how the heart fits within the body.Complete anatomy but what about the internal structures and understanding how they work? An average heart is only about the size of a fist, but by making use of 3d4medical’s technology the heart can be scaled up to three times its regular size, allowing students to see inside the chambers and valves.

3D4Medical began life as a stock medical image company, using three-dimensional anatomy models to produce realistic and stylised medical images. In 2008, with the launch of the apple ios app store, 3d4medical’s ceo, john moore, saw an opportunity to re-purpose the anatomy models and develop an app to help students understand the bones that make up the human skeleton.Medical education

The experiment proved successful and a series of products were launched using images of 3D anatomical models taken at 10-degree increments. When played back within the app these images gave the impression of a 3D environment.

“however, to take this technology to the next level – a realtime rendered 3D environment – we needed to either rely on a third party rendering engine, typically used in the gaming industry, or develop our own,” says robert cairnduff, coocoo, 3d4medical.

The company’s main concern was the quality of the imagery, much of which would be lost if they used someone else’s rendering engine, so they heavily invest in their own 3D rendering engine.Rendering engine

“it took several years and millions of dollars, but the end result ensured we could continue to develop patented functionality that set us apart and created a unique learning experience for our users,” adds cairnduff.

The cloud-based platform allows the user to investigate the detail of the human anatomy in 3D from any angle. “in the comfort of this 3D world, users explore by rotating individual structures, zooming to the finest detail and revealing the anatomy layer by layer. Users dissect using our patented ‘cut tools’ which slice through any structure or group of structures, showing anatomy by section and slices,” he adds.

Users can access libraries of anatomical information and watch 3D lectures from experts and animations on a range of topics.Medical education the sharing power of the app allows educators and students to share information with ease.

Jochen bretschneider, an ENT-surgeon at the VU university medical center in the netherlands, believes augmented reality has great potential to enhance student learning and productivity at his hospital.

“having 100 different medical conditions and a whole dissection lab at my fingertips, in my pocket and offline is mind-blowing,” he says. “this solves a problem that every student doctor faces, so the university has integrated complete anatomy into its whole curriculum.

3D4Medical has been surprised by the profile of its customer base, however. Initially they thought complete anatomy would be used purely as a tool by medical students.Augmented reality

“however, it quickly became clear that physicians were also using our platform to educate their patients and that the patients were also buying the product to educate themselves,” says cairnduff. “I suppose we are all interested in the human body and how it works.”

When exploring the possibilities of complementing complete anatomy with AR, the 3d4medical team worked closely with apple in applying their arkit. They are still investigating ways in which they can advance medical learning with the help of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality and a number of R&D projects are currently underway to make the platform more immersive and far reaching.Rendering engine

“currently AR and VR are not having a huge impact on medical education,” highlights cairnduff. “we are still at the ‘isn’t it cool’ phase and what needs to happen is a use case where AR or VR creates a dramatic improvement on normal 3D. For example, in surgical training or in learning clinical skills.”

The real advantage of AR especially is being able to bring a database of medical knowledge to any situation in real time, be that diagnosing a patient, preforming surgery or dispensing drugs.

Cairnduff continues: “the further development of artificial intelligence coupled with AR could help ensure that future physicians have the skills and knowledge of countless doctors, surgeons and radiologists at their fingertips.Augmented reality it would be the greatest advance in medicine since the invention of the microscope.” 3d4medical 2018-03-22

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