TECH-SAVVY students and doctors no longer wear their hearts on their sleeves it seems, but on their phones instead.
A new downloadable “Pocket Heart” application (or “app”) offers a three-dimensional instructional image of a beating heart complete with blood vessels and valves, as well as information about how to keep it all in a healthy condition.
Users can twirl and flip the virtual heart around, view its insides and watch where blood flows through.
“It allows you to see the inner workings of the heart in a much more realistic and engaging way than traditional two-dimensional illustration-based media,” said Mark Campbell, chief executive of eMedia, which developed the application at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology’s Innovation in Business Centre.
The idea was to create the heart interface as a learning tool for Leaving Certificate and third-level students, and as a communications aid for doctors explaining heart conditions or surgery to patients, said Mr Campbell of the application, which was developed by a team of five over the summer.
But it seems to have tapped into a vein in the general public as well. “We are finding everyone has an interest in this,” he said.
Launched last month, the application also offers basic text and image information on blood pressure and circulation and how smoking and diet affect heart health.
It is currently the most downloaded medical app in Ireland and has also been purchased by users all over the world, according to Mr Campbell, who sees an opportunity to use mobile devices to encourage health awareness.
“If we can harness these new technologies to promote the understanding of healthcare, then this is a very exciting innovation for everybody,” he said.
Pocket Heart, which can be downloaded to Apple iPhone and iTouch devices only, is available through iTunes and for preview and download at pocketanatomy.com