teamLabBody-3D Motion Human Anatomy-

The revolutionary teamLabBody-3D Motion Human Anatomy- shows in incredible detail the inside of a human body. Starting in 1998, the researchers based in the Osaka University Orthopaedic Biomaterial Science Laboratory have imaged 827 individual body elements in full 3D using state of the art CT and MRI imaging. With help from Professor Kazuomi Sugamoto, they have developed a new approach to image living human bodies, and record their muscular skeletal movement and range. This movement differs from that of previously living examples, and this pioneering field of research is brought to life through this iPad app.

Capturing the internal motion of a living human — and visualising this in glorious 3D — has resulted in a beautiful and insightful application. Useful for education, analysis, diagnosis and after-care for patients, it is well worth a look if you are a practising medical professional, and is a wonderful curiosity even if you’re not.

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A Slow Start

To begin with, the application loads all of the 3D data up-front: every muscle, ligament, nerve, blood vessel and bone is loaded and rendered so you are ready-to-go, but it does take a little longer than expected to load up the initial image in full 3D. From my testing, an average load time is about 35 seconds from starting to see the completed image of the human form.

It takes a little while for teamLabBody-3D Motion Human Anatomy- to load at first.

It takes a little while for teamLabBody-3D Motion Human Anatomy- to load at first.

Once teamLabBody-3D Motion Human Anatomy- has loaded, the overall feel is sharp and snappy, with excellent zooming and rapid 3D viewing, including zooming in and out. The visual quality is as fluid as a decent 3D game.

Infinite Angles

Tap and hold anywhere on the screen to rotate the body around a central axis. Tap and hold two fingers to move the body view anywhere on the screen. The movement of the skeleton is rapid and allows a 360-degree rotation of the body, with a fluid pinch to zoom function.

The 360 degree view lets you see the human subject from all angles.

The 360 degree view lets you see the human subject from all angles.

When you pinch to zoom, one pinch in will zoom in rapidly, but it takes several pinches out to fully zoom back to your original focus. You can get a bit lost with this movement, as it’s very easy to zoom around quickly and lose your orientation. Don’t worry, though, as tapping the top-left human form icon will reset the body back to the start. Tapping a muscle or bone body element immediately shows its clinical name.

Slide Inside

On the centre-left hand side of the screen you will notice an interactive slide bar, which you can move up or down to add or remove certain features of the body. It is fascinating to watch the human frame clothe itself with muscles, sinews, veins and nerves. Perhaps not something for the squeamish!

Use compatible slide bar to add or remove features of the body

Use compatible slide bar to add or remove features of the body.

There are also three levels you can view body elements — translucent, opaque and removed. Tapping the individual icons, bottom-left, cycles through these image adjustments, allowing your chosen focus to stand out, whilst not losing the other features.

Highlight To See

If you tap on a specific part of the body, it will light up and give you a central grey circle that repeated tapping adjusts its visibility in that region, helpful if you want to make a bone disappear to see through to the underlying veins and nerves.

If you select a certain body part, it will light up and give you a detailed description of its role in the body

If you select a certain body part, it will light up and give you a detailed description of its role in the body.

Adjusting the levels of translucency and feature visibility can give you a custom-view ideal for explanation, with nothing obstructing your view.

The Search Has Just Begun

In the top left hand corner you will notice a search icon that allows you to search for a specific body element of your choice. Also, there is a history section where you can revisit all of your previous searches.

Search for body parts you've already visited with the history button

Search for body parts you’ve already visited with the history button.

Like a good web browser, you can store favourite searches by tapping the star icon, and quickly return using the favourites section, instead of searching each time.

Accuracy and Detail

All of the descriptions of the body parts are detailed with many medical terms and in-depth explanations. We’ve checked through and done quite a few lookups of individual body parts, just to make sure that your abductor hallucis is identified as part of your foot, not your nose, and all checks out as far as we can see. Do consult a qualified physician (if you’re not already one) if in doubt.

You can tap the favourite button to keep important muscles in the favourite section of the search bar.

You can tap the favourite button to keep important muscles in the favourite section of the search bar.

All checks out as far as we can see. Do consult a qualified physician (if you’re not already one) in doubt.

Motion Madness!

The bone motion button located at the top right hand corner of the app introduces a range of basic movements within the body. Tapping one of the play buttons will trigger a movement of that part of the body, showing you how the joints and bones move throughout each motion. This is where the revolutionary research really comes to life, showing you accurate real life movement.

The bone motion button will allow you to see various fluid movmements of the body

The bone motion button will allow you to see fluid movement of the body.

The letters next to the play button give you the option to change the type of movement in that region. The bone motion button also helps you understand and perhaps relearn basic joint movements if you are recovering from an injury.

Time to 刷る (Print)

The print function takes a moment to add a company logo to the printout, and prepare an image for printing. It would be good to have other export options, but essential to have at least a print option to make study notes on for further learning and reference.

All of the detail is easily translated to Japanese, and print is available too.

All of the detail is easily translated to Japanese, and print is available too.

Tapping EN, the language icon, toggles the language between English and Japanese. The reason the developers provide Japanese text is that the production company is based in Japan. This means that the English text has been translated, with varying success, and the app does suffer a little because of it.

If you are relying on accuracy of medical terms, correct spelling and grammar is essential here. I have contacted the developers and highlighted some basic grammar issues, and they are working on updates all of the time just now to get this aspect truly sorted.

Final Thoughts

The price of this application may put some off, as at $29.99 it’s not cheap. It does, however, offer a wealth of scientific knowledge and detail. Whether you are a serious student of medicine, or just curious about learning how the body works, this app is ideal for you.


Summary

An interactive 3D reproduction of the human body using data from CT and MRI scans giving a unique glimpse inside.

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