Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WotW: Digitally Explore the Human Body

I have been feeling really under the weather for the past few days and getting up the energy to write a post this week has taken a lot out of me. I was going to write a neat post about a cool research tool, but since I'm sick, I thought I'd take advantage of a neat website that allows you to explore the human body.

The site is, a free service that really allows you to digitally explore the human body in ways you have probably never seen before (unless you're a med student or something).

To use this site, you will need a pretty up-to-date web browser. I have found it works best on Google Chrome. It also works on Firefox, but you will probably have to do a bit of settings tweaking. And if you're using Internet Explorer, well, repent now and switch to a better web browser.

When you first go to the site (, you will be asked whether you want to choose a male body or a female body. Don't worry too much about your choice because you can change your mind later.

When your body first loads, it will only contain the skeletal system. You can zoom in and out via the zoom control panel at the bottom of the screen or by using the scroll ball on the mouse. By clicking, holding and dragging the mouse around, you can rotate the body in any which way. The control panel also has a number of other views that you may find useful.

The skeletal system is fun for a little bit, but why not add some other body systems? To turn on a body system, go to the control panel in the top-left corner of the page and simply slide the switch from off to on. You can turn on all the systems or only a few at a time. You can even select specific organs within a body system. The more systems you load, the more it's going to demand from your computer and the slower it will go.

To learn more about a particular organ, simply click on it and an explanation will appear in the top-right corner.

Also included with the explanation are a list of common diseases associated with that organ. Try clicking on one of the diseases and the website will automatically adjust your body view to include the organs specifically affected by that disease.

You can also search through a large list of diseases in the same control panel as the body systems, by clicking on the conditions tab. I find this very fascinating. It's one thing to have a doctor tell you about a disease and it's another to actually see where and what's being affected in your body.

As a science teacher, I highly recommend this site for those interested in learning about body systems. It keeps things nice and simple and the interactive nature allows you to freely explore without getting your hands all bloody.

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