The academic year is well underway now and over this last few weeks, we have been looking at Learning Apps to benefit University students. Initially, we looked at Duolingo, a free language learning App. And last week, we checked out TED Talks and how anyone can access these from YouTube to podcasts.

This week, we focus upon the Anatomy 3D Atlas which is available online and via smart device Apps for Apple and Android. We will look at several Anatomy Apps.

What and who is the Anatomy 3D Atlas for?

The Anatomy 3D Atlas is an App that demonstrates human anatomy interactively. This allows for the isolation of different anatomy systems, for example, the musculoskeletal, respiratory, etc.

This App can assist anyone with human anatomy, i.e., medical students, nurses, paramedics, etc. The Anatomy 3D Atlas App is free to download, but do beware, there are some in-App purchases required to unlock all information.

Credit: Joyce McCown
Credit: Joyce McCown
What are the benefits of Anatomy 3D Atlas?

It’s online and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. The App can be downloaded to a device, but of course, there is a desktop version (for Windows 10) where you can access the content on a larger screen.

The content within the Anatomy 3D Atlas App is very detailed (using 4K) which allows for the examination of each bodily structure in greater detail. The Anatomy 3D Atlas shows ‘layers’ of the human body, from the surface, right down to the skeleton and these layers can be turned on and off.

The 3D feature of the App allows users to turn the content around to see it from all angles. It’s interface is intuitive and when used on a touch-screen, this allows for rotation, zooming in/out and seeing anatomy from any angle.

Believe it or not, the Anatomy 3D Atlas supports eleven languages as well!

Are there any disadvantages?

There are some in-App purchases to unlock all material. Students like free App content. This could be a major drawback.

Some users felt the App was a bit clunky in terms of download and lag-time. At times, the App itself froze or needed re-downloaded.

Credit: Nhia Moua
Credit: Nhia Moua
User Review of Anatomy 3D Atlas

One user stated they used this App through four years of medical school (thus far) and felt this App was a great learning supplement. Another student suggested using this App in conjunction with other resources.

The good reviews for this App far outweighed unfavorable reviews, however, make your own mind up.

Are there other alternative Anatomy Apps?

We asked around our anatomy lectures and some suggestions included:

  • Visible Body
  • Complete Anatomy
  • Biodigital Human

Another Anatomy App is Visible Body, this is an App that could be considered. We did receive feedback from a lecturer saying the 3D structures and rotation of the content was very useful for demonstration purposes and specific body systems can be isolated, albeit a bit slow when zooming. However, annotating in-App wasn’t great.

Students can create notes, however, once the 3D structure is moved, annotations are lost. It might well be possible to screen shot the annotations before moving the 3D structure and build up a set of notes.

On the Visible Body web page, there are a number of free learning resources. Do go and explore!

A second suggestion is Complete Anatomy, this was felt to make teaching easier and also very complete in terms of anatomy systems. It is popular among students and anatomists. There is a free 3-day trial, after which, the service is subscription based.

This App is available on macOS, Windows 10, iPad, iPhone and Android.

In the Student page, there are a number of quizzes and highlights for students to explore. Our lecturer highly rates this App but it is deemed costly.

The Biodigital Human App is a free resource. This can be used across multiple platforms: MAC, Windows, iPad, iPhone and Android and it contains 3D structures which can be rotated. It’s scalable and offers a number of conditions from which medical students can learn from.


As a learning resource, the App should supplement learning and make viewing of the internal human structures easier to visualise. This in itself will help learners identify the particulars of anatomy.

The interactive nature of the Apps in general do make them more engaging. If students are able to annotate in-App, do screen-shot the notations as a back up and store as revision notes.

Although we can’t recommend a fully free version of an anatomy App, please do mix and match what is freely available and what you currently have access to, i.e., via university subscription.

And of course, don’t forget about anatomy books. Currently our libraries offer many e-books which you can access whilst studying at home.

Next time

Our blog post next Monday will be looking at Flash Card Apps for learning. Remember, the DigiKnow blog posts are now released at noon on a Monday.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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