Outside of dissections or the operating room 2D medical illustration has been the standard way students learned about the human body for almost 500 years. In the early 1500′s Leonardo da Vinci created his famous anatomical drawings based on his dissection of over 30 self-proclaimed corpses. In 1543, Andreas Vesalius’s magnus opus presented 600 carefully woodcut illustrations based on his observations. Max Brodel illustrated for clinicians at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1890 and then in 1911 oversaw the creation of the first program in the country dedicated to this fusion of art and science. In 1936 CIBA Pharmaceuticals commissioned Frank Netter to create a fold up illustration of the heart. 50 years later Netter had produced over 4000 incredible illustrations which are commonly used to learn pathology around the world.
Now, with 3D technology ubiquitously available, the fusion of art, science and technology is quickly becoming the standard way we learn. The human body is 3-dimensional and illustration was unable to fully capture spatial relationships, depth and enable the viewer to see objects from any angle. Digital formats also enable interactivity which increases engagement, and therefore our capacity to retain information.
Now available on any smart phone or web browser, the BioDigital Human delivers anatomy and pathology in full interactive 3D. This format provides a better understanding of complex spatial relationships compared to flat, 2D illustrations. For example, in the BioDigital Human hand, you can rotate the canvas to see the depth of the palmar aponeurosis overlaying the thenar, lumbrical, and hypothenar muscles. Peel off layers using the Anatomy Tree or the Dissection Tool to quickly see what lies underneath.
For the first time, anyone can look inside the human body in a lifelike environment. Up until now, this knowledge has been limited to an elite audience with access to cadavers and the operating room. With the exploding demand for health awareness and medical education, people all over the world are searching for answers to their health questions and students are looking for learning tools to more easily consume information that help them stay on pace with the evolving demands of modern medicine.