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Body Browser

Google's interactive human anatomy site gives a detailed peak inside the body

by Greg Stefano in Tech on 20 December 2010

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For the aspiring medical student or simply any curious mind, Google Lab's new Body Browser offers an amazingly in-depth look at the different layers of the human body. The 3D model, currently only viewable as a female, lets the user interact with six different biological systems in multiple planes.

Beginning with the skin as its default viewpoint, a toggle bar guides you through the other levels right down to the central nervous system. Alternatively you can switch the toggle to adjust the opacity of each layer independently, letting you fine tune exactly what systems you want to see in conjunction with any of the other five.

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The detail is truly impressive, loaded with anatomical information on details from the large muscles of the back all the way down to the fragile endings of the plantar nerve. All layers can be viewed with or without labels, you can zoom in on any area and the model rotates 180° for a full perspective of how everything is connected.

The downside to the practical body browser is that it's currently only viewable using Google Chrome, and while it's no replacement for the hands-on study of anatomy, the application has tremendous utility in lieu of traditional anatomical texts because of its interactive nature. Using it greatly simplifies the process of visualization and memorization necessary to understand how anatomical systems interact.

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