Learning anatomy through AR
Apps that teach you about human and amphibian bodies.
The human body is a miraculous thing. Comprised of countless systems working in unison, learning about how each miniscule part functions is no easy task.
You might remember using frogs to study anatomy in your biology class at school; their body mechanisms are quite similar to that of humans. And you might also remember that feeling of apprehensive curiosity at the thought of having to dissect one.
With augmented reality (AR), these days dissecting a frog has gone virtual and the Froggipedia app is leading this innovative leap forward; its accomplished approach to learning earned it iPad App of the Year 2018. Here, we meet one educator who has seen first-hand the benefits of introducing AR learning into the classroom and also look at how Human Anatomy Atlas 2019 is making virtual strides when it comes to uncovering the complexities of human anatomy.
“Using Froggipedia makes kids want to view the frog from all different angles. For example, if you say, ‘Take five minutes to look at it,’ each child will observe it from their own perspective and at their own pace. I like it because they can make observations according to their own interests,” says Ryuhei Okamoto who teaches at a private junior high school in Osaka.
Mr. Okamoto, who is also an Apple Distinguished Educator, is advocating new teaching methods that embrace technology and saw the usefulness of the app when it was introduced to the biology classes of his second-year junior high school students.
“Until now, it took a lot of time and a lot of effort to explain the dissection procedure. I wanted my students to focus more on observation and the work itself, but it took a long time just to explain. I think Froggipedia is great because it’s possible to accurately show the procedure and method for making incisions, and to experience the dissection virtually.”
Froggipedia allows kids to make observations according to their interests from their own perspective and at their own pace.
– Ryuhei Okamoto
And when students began to use the app, they were astonished.
“When we used Froggipedia for the first time, some students came up to me and said, ‘Wow, it’s like a frog is really there!’. You can see the blood vessels and internal organs in AR, and view it from 360 degrees, so it seems to have had a big impact on them. They were amazed by the realism.”
Using the touch of your fingers or an Apple Pencil, the app simulated the experience of dissecting a frog instead of the traditional dissection involving a scalpel, tweezers and scissors. You can peel the skin back, cut through muscles to expose the body cavity and investigate the position and shape of each organ. And for the squeamish who might recoil at the idea of working with living organisms, using Froggipedia is a preferable interactive alternative.
When we used Froggipedia for the first time, some students came up to me and said, ‘Wow, it’s like a frog is really there!'.
– Ryuhei Okamoto
Another educational app using AR and 3D modelling to great effect, Human Anatomy Atlas 2019 has thousands of models that allow you to see human organs, bones, muscle structure, blood vessels and more. This virtual examination of each body part including the cardiovascular system, nervous system and other organs, is a fascinating journey through the intricacies of the human body and the level of realism is simply incredible.
“I think it would be really useful in biology classes in high schools. It’s really easy to understand because you can see how the invisible world of red blood cells, white blood cells and other things work,” says Mr. Okamoto.
“I believe that good teaching materials let [students] go deeper on their own. Teaching materials that can adapt when someone wants to know more about a specific thing are invaluable. I think Froggipedia and Human Anatomy Atlas 2019 can do exactly that.”
Exploring the elaborate and sophisticated mechanics of both amphibian and human bodies is a thing of astounding wonder. Both Froggipedia and Human Anatomy Atlas 2019 bring to life the opportunity for kids and adults to learn about the complex interconnected systems that operate inside a body. The miracle of life has met the miracle of AR.