Learning Anatomy in the Digital Age

The human body is an exciting frontier to explore—from the first time you outline your body on paper in kindergarten to see how all the parts fit together; to middle school when you learn how stomach acids work to digest food; to high school when you’ve broken your arm playing football; to college when you’re studying the arterial system of the brain.

The teaching of high school, undergraduate, and post-graduate anatomy and physiology is continually being redefined, and the methods used to deliver this teaching are ever evolving, including an increased use of visualizations through medical imaging and computer-based resources.

Each of these events requires the visualization of a body part (anatomy) or information about how that body part functions (physiology). Traditional study aids such as science books or encyclopedias provide the basis for an understanding of the processes, but cannot convey the complexity of the human body nor give the learner a three-dimensional (3D), animated, or interactive perspective.


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Pocket Anatomy wins 2014 Best Tech StartUp Award

Pocket Anatomy has won the “Boost” StartUp competition at The Next Web (TNW) Conference in Amsterdam. The event is one of Europe’s top tech gatherings and was attended by over 2,500 influential web, technology and business leaders from all over the world. Nearly a hundred StartUps were selected for Boost, out of which 10 (including Pocket Anatomy) were shortlisted to pitch on stage yesterday.

Pocket Anatomy are the creators of a suite of medical education software applications that are used by medical students, healthcare professionals, and the general public for visualising the complexities of the human body. The software has been downloaded over a quarter of a million times on iOS devices, and has been used by students and staff in dozens of educational institutions in the US. The company is based in the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway.

“We would like to thank everyone for all their support – we are thrilled!” said Mark Campbell, CEO and Founder of Pocket Anatomy after winning the award which includes €15,000 media value from sponsor WeTransfer. “We also got great feedback from the panel after we pitched on stage.”

Pocket Anatomy currently has three applications in the iOS App Store: Pocket Anatomy, Pocket Brain and Pocket Heart. The company also soft-launched a Mac OS version of Pocket Anatomy at yesterday’s TNW Conference.

The other finalists in the Boost startup competition included: Usertalk (a voice support button for embedding in websites); Crate (a zero-admin scalable data store); Via (a building and energy management system); Discovered (a customer-artisan marketplace aimed at selling products from emerging markets); UseClark (a digital document summarisation tool); 30MHz (a notification and warning service for monitoring systems); Agrivi (an intelligent farm management service targeting global food issues); Docido (a tool to search one’s cloud-based services and storage); and (a music discovery tool that connects to a range of services).

According to Jon Russell from The Next Web, “We whittled down the 99 startups selected for the Boost event at TNW Europe 2014 to 10 earlier this month, and each of the companies took to the stage to pitch our judging committee. Pocket Anatomy, an Ireland-based startup that developed an app that allows patients to understand more about healthcare, won the competition.”

TNW is one of the most influential technology publishers online, and is ranked in the top 10 tech news sites by Techmeme. The news site was originally launched as a spin-off from the events division of TNW. TNW Conference in Europe is one of three yearly events, the other two being held in São Paulo and New York later this year.

Pocket Anatomy also recently became just the third European company to join the prestigious New York-based StartUp Health Academy. The founders of health and wellness portfolio companies selected for the StartUp Health Academy are supported over a three-year period through a series of intensive workshops and mentoring sessions to help them grow into sustainable businesses and sell into the US healthcare market.

Source: Technology Voice

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New iOS7 Interface

New iOS7 Interface

To celebrate the launch of the new iOS7 operating system update on iPad and iPhone, Pocket Anatomy announces its beautiful and minimalist new interface!

Harnessing the already highly user-friendly 3D interface and features of previous versions, the newest refresh of Pocket Anatomy is a vital addition to anyone’s library of medical Apps. Medical students appreciate the comprehensive learning content, interactive quizzes and ability to add their own notes and content. For medical practitioners, the app acts as a unique and approachable patient information tool. By helping their patients gain a more visual understanding of their anatomy, the whole doctor-patient relationship improves.

Pocket Anatomy is available to purchase and download via the App Store

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Introducing the all new Pocket Anatomy App

female-webMay 30th sees the launch of one of the most significant medical anatomy apps available on the Apple Platform. The 4th Generation update to the multi award-winning Pocket Anatomy now includes full female and male anatomy. This complements the recent additions of circulatory & lymphatic systems, as well as the inclusion of both cranial & plantar views. When taken in conjunction with the extensive anatomical content, in excess of 100,000 words, this makes Pocket Anatomy the one-stop-shop for anatomy on the App Store.

Harnessing the already highly user-friendly 3D interface and features of previous versions, the newest refresh of Pocket Anatomy is a vital addition to anyone’s library of medical Apps. Medical students appreciate the comprehensive learning content, interactive quizzes and ability to add their own notes and content. For medical practitioners, the app acts as a unique and approachable patient information tool. By helping their patients gain a more visual understanding of their anatomy, the whole doctor-patient relationship improves.

Pocket Anatomy is available to purchase and download via the App Store

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CNET Review of Pocket Brain App

Pocket Brain review on CNET

Full text version:

Users can navigate eight layers of brain anatomy, view cross sections and nerve pathways, insert notes, and peruse clinical findings.

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
by Elizabeth Armstrong Moore March 26, 2012 1:09 PM PDT

Of all the subjects best taught in 3D, anatomy has got to be up there. And when it comes to human anatomy, the brain is arguably the most complex organ, if not system, of them all.

So it’s fitting that 3-year-old medical education app publisher eMedia out of Ireland is adding the Pocket Brain app to its suite of 3D Pocket Anatomy offerings. (First came the body and the heart.) For $19.99, the interactive app for iPhone and iPad renders the old-fashioned textbook pretty close to obsolete.

A few particularly inspired features: the 3D rotating brain includes nine layers to explore; relevant clinical cases; easy note insertion; various quizzes; and more. And because all content lives in the app itself, no Wi-Fi or 3G is required.

Clearly designed with medical and nursing students in mind, Pocket Brain may also serve as the ideal “I’d like to kill some time” tool for those of us who get our thrills memorizing things we’re only ever really tested on during trivia night.

The app’s developers enjoy a sense of humor, too. Check out their teaser below, aptly choreographed to “If I Only Had a Brain.”

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POCKET BRAIN: Explore the Human Brain like Never Before

Pocket Brain - Explore the Human Brain like Never Before.
With Pocket Brain, we’ve made an exciting App that transforms teaching, learning and communication of the human brain. Pocket Brain assists the medical, nursing or health care professionals communicate with their patients, as well as learn and share clinically relevant neuroanatomy with colleagues. For neuroanatomy students, Pocket Brain will help you prepare for and be successful in your neuroanatomy examinations. It makes advanced human anatomy content available on demand, while serving as a supplement to the lectures, classes and complementary texts used by the medical and health care students. The app will act as a continuing anatomy resource throughout a student degree program and will also operate as a comprehensive neuroanatomy reference tool for the health care professional in the workplace.

Award winning Pocket Anatomy brings you Pocket Brain in 3D – 8 layers of neuroanatomy with clinical cases, cross sections, nerve pathways…and over 30,000 words of learning material.
Pocket Brain is a fully searchable interactive 3D atlas of the human brain, which allows the busy medical and nursing student or allied health care professional to visualize the human brain. Additional features allow the user to make learning notes as they progress through the learning content, and the app incorporates three different types of built-in anatomy quizzes, which act as a self-test capability to assist in learning and exam preparation.

View the Video:

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Pocket Body features in 2012 Horizon Report

Pocket are honored that members of faculty in University California Irivine have chosen Pocket Body as a complementary learning resource within their digital cadaver laboratory, and that this innovative step was, in turn, showcased in the New Media Consortium 2012 Horizon Report.

“The iPad has become an integral instrument in the cadaver laboratories at the University of California, Irvine. Images of body structures and radiographic films can be easily explored and manipulated on-screen.” New Media Consortium 2012 Horizon Report.

Pocket Body in use in UCI's digital cadaver laboratory.^ Screenshot from the showcased projects within the report.

2012 Horizon Report
^ Screenshot from the Horizon Report homepage.

The NMC Horizon Report > 2012 Higher Education Edition is a collaborative effort between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE Program.

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Pocket Body : iPad in the Anatomy Lab

“…there are quite a few apps that effectively marry anatomy content and the iPad technology such as the Pocket Body HD app.”

We are delighted to read about University of California Irvine’s account of their iPads in use their cadaver laboratories. The following text is an excerpt from a June 6th posting on the MacHealthCare Website, in which the UC Irvine team give an in-depth account of their innovative approach in the teaching of anatomy.

The Logistics of iPads in the Anatomy Lab

On August 6, 2010, the medical students in the incoming class at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine were awarded their white coats. More interestingly, was the non-traditional gift these students were bestowed during this ceremony: an iPad, Apple’s new tablet device that had only debuted a few short months before. These iPads represent a major step forward in the new iMedEd Initiative at UCIrvine to develop a fully digital curriculum, a goal set forth by Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, Dean of the UCIrvine School of Medicine. The iMedEd Initiative, led by faculty director, Dr. Warren Wiechmann, was conceived out of efforts to blend technology into an innovative and interactive learning environment to facilitate a move away from the passive lecture model of conventional medical education approaches.

One of the first courses into which the iPads were integrated at UCIrvine is Anatomy. Anatomy has long been a critical part of medical education. Most of the learning in this course happens through active, hands-on exploration in a lab that commonly consists of donated cadavers draped in sheets and lying on rows of dissection tables. The introduction of 10 new iPads and enabling Internet connectivity within the lab was a groundbreaking addition for the UCIrvine lab this year. However, prior to making the iPads available for the students, there were several logistical issues that needed to be addressed to support them: (1) protecting them from the cadaver tissue and biohazardous materials in the lab; (2) loading relevant and effective software to facilitate the learning of anatomy; (3) determining the most efficient way for students to share documents with themselves, other students and faculty from inside the lab; and (4) establishing Internet connectivity to allow document sharing, access to external resources and handling updates of installed apps.

This is a brief video (above) demonstrating iPad usage in UCIrvine’s Anatomy lab. The iPad is being protected by a simple Ziploc bag and still maintains functionality with both a gloved hand and a stylus. The content being viewed on the iPad is the Modality Body App with the Thieme Atlas of Anatomy as well as the PocketBodyHD app by PocketAnatomy.

Protecting the iPads

Cadaver tissue and biohazardous materials are unavoidable in an anatomy lab. Unfortunately, these materials do not mix well with iPads and a need to protect them in a sanitary and waterproof manner is necessary. A comprehensive test and review of the market for suitable cases by the iMedEd team was cut short in favor of an admittedly unfashionable solution using Ziplock bags in an effort to get the iPads into the anatomy lab as quickly as possible (Figure 1).
Pocket Body being used in UC Irvine
Figure 1. iPad in Ziplock bag (Credit: UCIrvine).

Anatomy Apps for the iPads

The iPad serves as a preeminent platform to deliver rich, interactive multimedia presentations of information and gross anatomy is an ideal subject matter to complement the iPad’s features with its largely media-based approach to teaching, for example, utilizing images of body structures, radiographic films, MRI’s and videos of dissections. Accordingly, there are quite a few apps that effectively marry anatomy content and the iPad technology such as the Pocket Body HD app by Pocket Anatomy. Pocket Body allows its user to explore an anatomically correct human character with nine layers of musculoskeletal content that can be peeled away to study structures at the muscle, joints/ligaments and skeletal levels. A copy of this app was purchased for each anatomy iPad along with Epocrates Essentials, a mobile drug and disease reference. Though it is not a media intensive app, Epocrates provides quick and easily searchable access to a wealth of clinical information in a format that is also well-suited for the iPad interface.

The most interesting use of the iPad in the anatomy lab has been with OsiriX HD, an app that displays and supports interactive analysis of medical images. Full CT scans of two cadavers were captured allowing students to explore structures in OsiriX, for example, by zooming, panning and measuring them, to complement their learning experience before and after dissections.

Full Post: MacHealthCare Website

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Pocket Anatomy wins European Award

Pocket Anatomy wins a European MEDEA (Media in Education) AwardMEDEA Award

Pocket Anatomy, a Galway-based medical education software visualisation company has been awarded one of the five annual awards for Media in Education at this year’s European MEDEA 2010 Media in Education awards in Brussels (Nov 26th 2010). The aim of the MEDEA Awards is to encourage innovation and good practice in the use of media (audio, video, graphics and animation) in education. The awards also recognise and promote excellence in the production and pedagogical design of media-rich learning resources.

The company’s Pocket Heart and Pocket Body mobile medical education products were selected by a judging panel of 74 European eLearning practitioners, to participate in the MEDEA finals on November 25th/26th in Brussels, where they shared the stage with eight other organisations (including the BBC) from Belgium, Estonia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the UK. The judges described the Pocket Anatomy products as “self-learning instruments with high quality learning content, excellent visualization and animation combined with the right tools to enable learners to achieve clear learning goals – an excellent example of mobile learning.”

“To be awarded a European Media in Education award is a real honour, as it recognises the great work of our talented team. I’m really proud of what we have all achieved together, and I look forward to continued creative and innovative developments in 2011.” – Founder and CEO of Pocket Anatomy, Mark Campbell.

Below is a video demonstration of Pocket Anatomy:

Pocket Anatomy: What a Piece of Work is Man! from PocketAnatomy on Vimeo.

The development of Pocket Anatomy’s recent medical software app, Pocket Body, is a great example of collaboration between a Galway-based company, graduate employees from GMIT, 5 NUIG Medicine students, and Enterprise Ireland. Combined with the software design expertise within Pocket Anatomy, the result is an innovative and exciting app which will serve as a supplement to the lectures, classes and complementary texts used by the medical and health care student and provide a detailed source of human anatomical content, on demand, through the student’s own portable device. Campbell, believes that “This project demonstrates how SME’s can work closely with local academic expertise within Universities and IoT’s to accelerate new product development in order to create an innovative and meaningful educational resource.”

This medical software, featuring comprehensive human musculoskeletal anatomy content by means of a multi-layered sequence of high-definition photo-realistic illustrations of the human body, is a breakthrough in human anatomy education.

Helle Meldgaard, from the MEDEA Awards Organising Committee commented “This year we saw a good variety in the entries and excellent examples of media in education and training. We are particularly pleased to have seen such a good mix of user-generated and professionally produced media among the finalists coming in from across Europe and beyond. This year we also saw a number of high-quality media productions that come about as a result of European cross-border collaboration.”

Full press kit with print-resolution images of Pocket Body are available on the Pocket Anatomy website:

For further details please contact:
Mark Campbell
Contact: +353 (0) 91 442 027


Pocket Body features a fully anatomically accurate human character with nine layers of musculoskeletal content, enabling the user to navigate from the skin layer through the superficial to deep musculature, and on through to ligaments and the skeleton. In each layer, structures are pinned for identification and associated with each pin is additional concise relevant information including clinical notes. All of the information is presented in an interactive, mobile and accessible format which takes full use of the features of the device on which the app runs (iPhone, iPad or iTouch). This is a marked contrast with the two-dimensional (2D) printed pictures and diagrams commonly used in the teaching of advanced human anatomy today. Additional features allow the user to make learning notes as they progress through the learning content, and also utilize the built-in quizzes as a self-test capability to assist in their learning and exam preparation.

Pocket Body will assist medical and other health care students gain a deep understanding of human musculoskeletal anatomy and assist in examination preparation. By making comprehensive human musculoskeletal anatomy content available on demand it will also act as a continuing anatomy resource throughout their degree programme, and as a reference on into the professional workplace.

As medical students and educators continue to embrace new technologies in their teaching and learning practices, Pocket Anatomy will continue to push the boundaries in the use of new technologies for the purposes of medical education.

For more information about the MEDEA Awards:

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