3D app guides vet students through cow’s anatomy

3D app guides vet students through cow's anatomyResearchers at the University of Illinois have developed a 3D app that allows for the internal organs and bones of a cow to be viewed from all angles.

The 3D app was conceived of when medical illustrator in veterinary medicine at Illinois University, Janet Sinn-Hanlon, came across a dinosaur DNA app. That original app, created by associate director in computer-human interaction, Alan Craig, allows users to interact with dinosaur DNA molecules by looking through the app at a magazine.

Sinn-Hanlon and research partner Kerry Helms, coordinator of graphic design in veterinary medicine, teamed up with Craig to use this technology to create an app for veterinary students.

The 3D app uses the camera lens to collect data about the position of the magazine in relation to the viewer, constructing a 3D image. “We’re using computer vision, the tablet, the phone as a magic lens,” said Craig. “We’re looking at the real world through the camera of this device.”

The team designed the 3D app to offer veterinary students the chance to conceptualise a cow’s anatomy. “That’s difficult, especially on a really large animal. You’re used to looking at a textbook and an illustrator might have several views all on one page,” said Helms. “But to really put that all together in your head is kind of challenging. So the exciting part for us is the students can actually look at this and turn it around on their own.”

The new 3D app is not confined to a stationary page, with students able to walk around, capturing a view of a cow’s anatomy from every angle. “There is so much stuffed inside of a body. It’s very compact,” said Sinn-Hanlon. “If you’re going to go on and do surgery, it’s kind of difficult to see where (vessels and nerves) go. It is so helpful to see something in 3-D and rotate things around.”

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