European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 17 - Number 3
Eur J Anat, 17 (3): 146-154 (2013)

A digital tool for three-dimensional visualization and annotation in Anatomy and Embryology learning

Jon-Jatsu Azkue

Department of Neurosciences, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain

ABSTRACT Mental representation and proper understanding of the three-dimensional structure of the human body is commonly challenging to the learner. Advances in computing science hold promise to significantly contribute to scientific visualization, including three-dimensional visualization of anatomical structures. This paper describes the implementation of a computer application designed for addressing two major aspects of anatomy education, namely (i) effective three-dimensional visualization for classroom or laboratory demonstration, and (ii) exploration and annotation for personal, self-directed learning. The digital tool presented here relies on a polygon mesh surface rendering technique to represent anatomical scenes which the user can navigate by translating or rotating the viewing direction. A stereoscopic, anaglyph view mode is also provided to increase depth perception within the scene. Colouring and opacity change operations enable the user to modify the appearance of rendered models, which also can be removed and retrieved as needed during the session. All changes to the scene can be saved to file and retrieved at a later time. The graphical and textual annotation features included in this application enable the user to enrich structural information in the anatomical scene with personal input. An overview is provided of potential uses of this tool in anatomy and embryology learning.

Keywords: Anatomy, Teaching, Computerassisted, Teaching, Medical education, Gross anatomy, Three-dimensional visualization

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)