How Does Visible Body Courseware Compare with The BioDigital Human?

There are several 3D anatomy education tools on the market today, and it can be tricky to find the one that’s right for you and your classroom. At first glance, it might look like Visible Body and BioDigital offer a very similar product: both Courseware and The Biodigital Human present interactive, 3D models of human anatomy, physiology, and pathology. Both can be used on desktop or on a mobile device, have extended reality functionalities, and provide quizzing tools for instructors who want to incorporate these fantastic features into their courses. So what makes them different?

Today on the Visible Body Blog, we’ll compare Visible Biology’s Courseware learning platform to BioDigital’s The Biodigital Human! We’ll look at some key differences in three different categories: content, user experience, and teaching. 

1. What kind of content is available?

BioDigital’s Human Library features over 700 anatomy models in addition to their wide array of pathology models, showing pathologies like heart disease, breast cancer, and diabetes. BioDigital has a range of human models, including an infant model. 

In Courseware, you and your students have access to over 6,000 structures. Visible Body’s models feature a realistic tone and color with textures that show the structure’s true shape. Visible Body’s anatomy models feature more detail—for example, all eight segments in Human Anatomy Atlas 2022 +’s liver model can be selected, tagged, and dissected. 

In Courseware, you can create custom interactive virtual courses; it can be used as a standalone LMS or it can be integrated with Blackboard or Canvas. Courseware comes with a suite of A&P apps: Human Anatomy Atlas 2022 +, Anatomy & Physiology, Physiology & Pathology, and Muscle Premium. Courseware also outfits your classroom with thousands of anatomy structure models and also the genetics, plant, and cell content available in Visible Biology

dental anatomy textures

Image from Human Anatomy Atlas 2022 +.

Visible Body takes medical accuracy seriously! Our 3D models, animations, and illustrations are created by our in-house team of biomedical visualization experts, who hold advanced degrees in the art and science of communicating complex biology. We then work with professors and professionals to refine the visuals as needed. 

2. What’s the user experience like?

In The Biodigital Human, the user selects a view from a menu organized into categories like region, system, or specialty. The model loads and then the user can manipulate the model, add labels, and annotate in addition to reading the text description. A cool thing about The Biodigital Human is that it features audio narration, which can help auditory learners. 

Once they’ve accessed a view, the user can deselect the structures or systems present in the model using a side panel. To view anatomy not included in the selected view, the user must go back to the menu and reload another view. For example, if a user was looking at a view of just dental anatomy, they would need to click through the menu and load another view to see the mandible or the surrounding nerves and muscles. 

In Human Anatomy Atlas 2022 +, you can search for and add any anatomy from any view instantly; you get more flexibility without more load time. Visible Body’s apps are designed to facilitate learning. When you select a structure, the info box features related views and depending on the structure, it offers options to see details on bony landmarks, muscle attachments, muscle actions, blood supply, and innervation. Through these connections, Visible Body’s apps encourage discovery and exploration. 

Both BioDigital and Visible Body offer mobile apps, so what about mobile use? 

Since BioDigital is cloud-based, it requires an internet or cellular connection to access views that are not saved to your device. This is not the case for Human Anatomy Atlas 2022 + on mobile, where all models are available regardless of connectivity. This makes studying on the go accessible for more students!

BioDigital offers an extended reality experience complete with voice commands to do things like rotate and dissect structures. However, these features require a headset and are compatible with Meta Quest 2 (starting price $299 per headset) and HoloLens 2 ($3,500 per headset).

Visible Body has two options for extended reality: experience human anatomy in augmented reality on your mobile device or in mixed reality through zSpace. 

From Human Anatomy Atlas 2022 +.

The Human Anatomy Atlas 2022 + mobile app automatically comes with augmented reality capabilities, so wherever you have a phone or tablet, you can explore the whole catalog of gross human anatomy. Zoom in and out, highlight structures, and dissect with no extra equipment or costs.  

For a mixed reality experience, Human Anatomy Atlas is available on zSpace. zSpace combines augmented reality and virtual reality elements. zSpace uses a monitor, a stylus, and special 3D glasses, and users can use the stylus to manipulate virtual components as they appear to pop out of the screens. 

With Visible Body, you can choose the extended reality option that’s right for your classroom or your institution. 

3. How can I use this in the classroom?

The BioDigital Human and Visible Body’s apps both feature a text box that describes a selected structure. While The BioDigital Human’s descriptions often link the reader to Wikipedia, Visible Body’s content is developed by a team of teachers, medical experts, and educational publishing experts. Our descriptions are written to enhance the view, and many instructors have replaced their textbooks with Courseware. 

In BioDigital’s Human Studio, users can paint structures different colors, add labels and other annotations, and embed the created content into an LMS or website. 

In Human Anatomy Atlas 2022 +, users can annotate the models with the 3D drawing tool, notes, and labels, then save your views. Views can be shared with a few easy clicks, and they can be combined into Tours, which are also sharable. Courseware can be used by itself, or it can be integrated with Blackboard or Canvas. 

Everything available in Courseware, including the Anatomy & Physiology app and all pre-built Courseware courses, are built with instruction in mind. The pre-built courses are correlated with popular anatomy and physiology textbooks and our content is organized to emphasize high-order thinking. It’s our goal to support the instructor and better facilitate learning for the students!

A unique feature to BioDigital is the “Community Bookmarks” feature where users can submit and share saved views. These bookmarks appear in a long list organized by popularity and can be confusing to navigate because it is not curated: all languages are included together and many bookmarks appear random, with nonsensical titles. Importantly, these bookmarks lack the academic rigor and curation of Visible Body’s pre-made content: Visible Body offers a wealth of pre-made Flashcard Decks, Tours, and quizzes designed by our expert team. 

Learn more about Visible Body Courseware!

If you’re interested in learning more about Courseware, you can request an instructor trial and try our learning platform out for yourself. 

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