Google Anatomy Lab

Okay, so let’s talk about the awesome new magic wand that came out today:  the Google Body Browser.  It’s a 3D net atlas of the human body that – while less awesome than a cadaver -is definitely more awesome and free than that other one I probably shouldn’t mention by name (previously the only choice for a 3D anatomy atlas, it was missing some fairly significant muscles yet still cost about $100).

Also, if you clicked the link, chances are the Body Browser is legit not loading.  That’s okay, though – while eventually all browsers will probably offer support of the 3D technology, right now it’s brand new and only the newest, beta versions of browsers support it*.  Quickest fix:  Click the google chrome beta link that they give you on the page, then open google chrome.  Presto.  (If you’re using chrome currently, you have to exit everything after the download finishes, then re-open it.)

If you don’t want to go through that, you can just watch Google’s demo here.

Why do I think this is so awesome?

– You can peel back the layers of the body – muscles, then bones, arteries, veins, nerves – or focus on specific regions – then rotate the view through all 360*.

– There’s a gradient of “deepness”, so if you’re on the organ level you can play with how much, say, lung vs. heart you want. (Make sure to zoom in – the level of detail changes drastically.)

– Choice of labels or no labels –> easy self-testing.

There are a few things that may be missing – either I didn’t find the bulbourethral gland or dorsalis pedis, or they just aren’t added into the search function yet.  (And heck yes, there’s an instant search function.  Exactly what I wish existed in both 1) Netter, and 2) my room.**)  I imagine more detail will be added since it’s still in an early stage of development.  We’ll see.

Despite that, I would bet good money that this is going to go places as it develops.  I’d be surprised if most anatomy students weren’t using this as a Netter supplement by next year.

* So if it did load on the first try – well, then, look at you, you fancy cutting-edge person!  You impress me.
** The number of times I’ve lost my phone and automatically thought “Ctrl + F cell phone” is only surpassed by the number of times I’ve wished “Accio” was a real thing.  </nerdiness>
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