July 22, 2011

Virtually Dissect a Google Body

I discovered Google Body just in time for Google Labs to be axed.  It's a neat application where you can sort of virtually dissect the human body - both male and female.  I'm guessing the developer didn't put a whole lot of effort into it (as it's someone's 20% project), since the figures are quite pixellated.  But you can zoom in and out, spin the body around, and investigate whole systems (e.g., skeletal, muscular, nervous), particularly by using the double slider feature (left-hand toolbar):

Creepy Skeleton-Woman (with inexplicable mammary glands)

As a Google product, you can even "map" the body, placing pins in it (ouch!).  The pin-placement tool is pretty cool, because you can then choose to "highlight" the pin, so you can investigate a whole bone more closely and at tons of weird angles:

You always wanted to look at a patella from this angle, didn't you?

I'm not sure if I would use Google Body for a class like Human Osteology.  It's unclear if they've rendered the skeleton with any sexual dimorphism.  I couldn't see any, even in the pelvis.  That's a bit unfortunate, since they seem to have presented the muscles pretty well.

Playing with this tool makes me feel a bit like Angela from Bones, except that I haven't figured out how to program the Google Body to die in innumerable unnatural and implausible ways.  Go play around with it yourself until Google Labs shuts down.  And also be sure to check out the NGram Viewer, which is unfortunately meeting a similar fate.


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