October 19, 2015

Inside the Human Body with BioDigital Human

By Marybeth Norcross

For many years, the only way to look into the inner workings of the human body was through the use of cadavers. Technology offered new options, but they were often expensive and difficult to use. Today, there is an easy, free way to examine the inside of the human body. It’s called BioDigital Human.

What is a BioDigital Human?

BioDigital Human is an interactive, online 3D environment for examining the human body. Through this platform, anybody with an internet connection can use the BioDigital Human to explore the parts of the body and see how they connect and interact. Users can learn about anatomy, health conditions, and treatments for a variety of purposes, including health sciences education, fitness training, and patient care.

To get started with BioDigital Human you need to visit their website at https://www.biodigital.com and create a free account. Resist the suggestion that you upgrade, unless absolutely necessary. For most, the free option will give you what you need.

BioDigital HumanOnce you are logged in, you will be able to begin exploring the medically accurate virtual human body. The default view is the human skeletal system but in the image on the left I have included the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Layer the systems to make your view as comprehensive as you want. Zoom in or out and rotate the figure for a full three-dimensional view. Clicking on a part of the body opens a detailed description.

BioDigital Human comes with a number of options. You can view by body system, or select from the choices under the Featured tab. Choose from a standard view, a transparency mode, and an option to isolate a particular part or system and see only that. There is a dissecting tool that will remove layers when you tap on them, and an undo button which replaces what you removed.

There are so many options in the free version of this tool that it is easier to use the site rather than describe it. However, the video below will give you a quick introduction to how the platform works.

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Bio Digital HumanOf Course There’s an App!

For those who prefer to use their mobile devices, there is a free BioDigital Human app available for both iOS and Android devices. It offers the same features as the website on a smaller screen.

The Verdict

This is a great tool for health science students, whether they are taking anatomy or want an interactive resource to supplement their learning. It’s well designed, easy to navigate and use, presents information logically, and adapts to user preferences easily.  It gives users access to more than 1,000 anatomy and health condition models, and you can save models under the My Human tab. I think the quizzing feature is helpful not only for learning the body parts, but also for reviewing them and keeping them fresh. In fact, I think this is a great tool that can be used in many different ways by students across the campus.