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Study of Human anatomy made easy with Augmented and Virtual Reality

Human Anatomy Study With Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are helping health and science students at the Bendigo campus of Australia’s La Trobe University to better understand the intricacies of human anatomy.

As reported, the recently installed technology in the campus’ anatomy laboratory and library is being used by students studying biomedical science, dentistry, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology, among other disciplines.

Background

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the University’s latest investment in new technology further demonstrates the University’s commitment to building a strong rural health workforce.

There are students at the Bendigo campus who all need a deep and sophisticated understanding of the human body.

These students are in new courses like the Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical), as well as dentistry and a suite of allied health programs.

The state-of-the-art technology, combined with the newly refurbished anatomy labs, is helping students develop the knowledge and skills many will need when they start work in a rural health clinic or regional hospital after graduation.

A Lecturer in Anatomy, Dr Anita Zacharias, explained that technology makes the study of human anatomy more affordable and flexible for students. Also, it makes the learning experience an enriching one.

About the Initiative

The anatomy students already learn from working with skeletons, models, and human specimens.

Adding AR and VR to the mix enables them to visualise and manipulate anatomical structures, which deepens their understanding of muscle function, and improves spatial awareness.

Furthermore, this means that students can access highly detailed 3D images, clinical cases and quizzes anywhere. It may be in their homes, on public transport, or wherever they have access to a phone, tablet or computer.

With AR, students can superimpose images of anatomical structures over a peer who can perform movements along with the app, to better understand muscle function.

While AR is completely transportable and available 24 hours a day, VR is used on campus with University supplied headsets.

The cost of using the AR technology is AU$ 10 per student, compared to more than AU$ 100 for a single textbook.

Expanding Reach

La Trobe has invested AU$ 2.6 million this year on building and refurbishing science laboratories at its Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga campuses.

This was done in part to accommodate students in the new Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical), which launched in 2019.

Fifteen new students will start in the program across the two campuses in 2020, bringing the total number enrolled to 30.

Compared to last year, first preferences through VTAC and UAC for the Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) are up 56% in Bendigo, and 146% in Albury Wodonga.

The selection process targets students with rural or regional backgrounds, who are seeking a career in the rural health workforce.

More than 77% of students studying health-related disciplines at La Trobe’s regional campuses are from a rural or regional background.

The AR and VR technology has been rolled out across La Trobe’s Melbourne, Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga campuses in recent months.

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