Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Body In Depth: Learning Anatomy in 3-D

The Body In Depth discusses the work of David L. Bassett, an anatomist who created the first set of pseudo 3-D View-Master anatomical images.
Working closely with William Gruber, the inventor of the View-Master, the three-dimensional viewing system that GAF Corporation popularized as a toy in the 1960s, Dr. Bassett created the 25-volume “Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy” in 1962. It included some 1,500 pairs of slides, along with line drawings that made the details more discernible. The paired slides could be examined with a View-Master, making the chest cavity look cavernous, and making details of structure and tissue stand out unforgettably.
Apparently now, these images will be hosted online by Stanford University. Given the degree of technology and the availability of 3-D CT imaging, I remember thinking that it was strange that I was learning my anatomy from a mix of crude diagrams and detailed but still 2D images. Hopefully efforts like this will lead to medical students of the future learning anatomy in full 3-D.



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