Internal affairs: 3D apps map body systems


Devin Marble, a paramedic instructor, has been working on a project for paramedic students at Pima Community College’s 29th Street Coalition Campus.

He has gotten all of PCC’s campuses involved in a trial period using top-of-the-line augmented reality technology that currently is being used at Harvard University.

Marble noticed that multiple classrooms have tablets/laptops that don’t get used except for final exam testing.

“They just sit in storage,” Marble said. “Such powerful technology, without the appropriate software to make them more useful. There have been carts full of devices that overheated and had to be disposed of. It was because they weren’t getting unplugged, getting used.”

Marble wanted to use this wasted technology to help his students study at no cost to them. He called the company Visual Body and talked to them about what it would take to get their software for PCC students.

Visual Body has two programs, Human Anatomy Atlas and Anatomy and Physiology, that use 3D models of every cell and system of the human body, with augmented reality built-in. It is also ADA compliant.

With this app you access them both, and see every detail down to the smallest nerve hidden behind bones and layers you can tap to see through. It has self-paced quizzes and lesson plans; videos; definitions; histology, pathologies; the metabolic process; MRI and cadaver images; and muscle action/physiology animations.

“This app will empower students to succeed in their bio-courses,” Marble said. “This is their chance to study anatomically correct anatomy that you wouldn’t even be able to see on a cadaver.”

Marble then crashed a Jan. 30 budget meeting with the PCC librarian Keith Rocci and pitched that they pay a site license for this application for all students and instructors.

Marble said that the value outweighed the cost, because unused devices all over campus would now get used.

“Accessibility is key,” Marble said. “It doesn’t matter what is available for students if they are at work or daycare; it needs to be in the student’s hands to get used. With this app, students can access the entire human body 3D atlas and information on their own time, while on shift or at home. You don’t have to be on campus or even online to access this.”

Marble also said that the app is growing, and more will be added to it, particularly regarding histology and disease pathogens.

Rocci and the administration agreed to a 45-day trial. This cutting-edge software now is accessible on all personal and PCC devices for free. All you need is a Pima email to download it.

Photo courtesy of Devin Marble, A Visual Body app screenshot of the skull separated into its many bones.

After the initial download, the app is accessible offline on mobile devices, but for the trial period that is not available yet for computers. Temporarily, any computers will need to be on the Pima server to access it.

Newer devices will be able to access the augmented reality, while everything else is available on all devices.

Any questions students have on downloading or using this app are welcome to ask librarians Rocci from the Community Campus or Chuck Becker of the East Campus in person or by email.

There is also a tutorial on how to use the app on YouTube, under “Human Anatomy Atlas 2017 Training Video.”

A huge population of students are in a health program or course. This will help all Allied Health students with their advanced AP courses, along with any nursing, dental, EMT, paramedic, veterinarian or basic biology students.

“There is one class of students using trials of the software to help them pass AP and they love it,” Devin said. “It is helping them learn difficult concepts. Our cart of tablets hasn’t been full since we started this compared to the once every six months they would get used before.”

Claude Blue, a student using the Visual Body app, said it helped him pass his test.

“Before I was just trying to go through the book, study guide and models,” Blue said. “The program lets you peel apart layers to see how things work. I probably would’ve failed without it.”

Bonnie Taylor, paramedic instructor, said she uses it to teach in her class.

“It’s 3D and interactive, with easier hands-on learning,” Taylor said. “It allows the students to see the body more in-depth, even in microscopic detail. Instead of just holding a model of part of the brain, they can peel back all the layers of the brain and see how all of the pieces fit. I wish that I had access to this when I was learning.”

Marble is excited for students and instructors to use this new app.

“This truly would not be possible without the support of the deans, librarians, teachers and administrative staff,” Marble said. “They are working hard for our students. We need to be grateful to them.”

Andrew Bowditch, CEO of Visual Body, is proud to be working with PCC.

“We are excited to partner with the healthcare programs at PCC,” Bowditch said. “PCC is one of the largest community college networks and forward-thinking, both in the variety of programs they offer students pursuing healthcare degrees, and their adoption of virtual, visual and interactive learning.”

Visible Body employs multiple illustrators who hold advanced degrees in biomedical illustration. They have trained with medical students, and worked beside them in cadaver labs.

Photo courtesy of Devin Marble, A Visual Body app 3D screenshot of the human eye and all that is attached to it.

Once their models/content/structures are created, they send them to outside medical professors, physicians, surgeons and medical illustrators to verify and conclude if any of the information should be altered. When everyone agrees the structure/model/content is accurate, the images are returned to their illustrators who make alterations based on the experts’ advice.

Once completed, it is returned to this group of experts for a second time and they receive final input and/or acceptance.

If enough students use this app during the trial period, it will justify PCC purchasing the software for all students and staff to use indefinitely.

For mobile devices, the download link is:

For computers, the download links are: and Off-campus access is coming soon.

“If you want to ace biology or physiology tests, you need to use every tool you can access,” Marble said. “This is the most powerful tool I could find.”

One thought on “Internal affairs: 3D apps map body systems”

  1. Thanks for writing such a great article! One small correction: It’s “Visible Body,” not “Visual Body.” 🙂

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