At MCCC Campuses, Digitized Bodies Assist Students

At MCCC Campuses, Digitized Bodies Assist Students

POTTSTOWN PA – Students studying health science this fall at both the Pottstown and Blue Bell campuses of Montgomery County Community College will get to use new, groundbreaking technology to “see” human anatomy and physiology.

MCCC purchased two Anatomage tables (at top, left, and below) this past spring for students and faculty to incorporate in their study of the body. The Anatomage Table is the “most technologically advanced 3D anatomy visualization and virtual dissection tool for anatomy and physiology education,” according to the manufacturer’s website.

Students using the machine will soon be able to peel back and explore each layer of a digitally recreated body, starting with the skin and musculature, down to the circulatory and central nervous systems, and everything in between.

“The Anatomage Table was developed to provide real-life dissection of a human cadaver without having a human cadaver,” Dean of Health Sciences Cheryl DiLanzo said. “By using this table, students will be able to understand spatial anatomy which is crucial in health care.”

Health science courses like anatomy, physiology, biology, nursing, dental hygiene and other programs will likely heavily incorporate the use of the machine into their work. “There isn’t any program that wouldn’t be able to use it for something” DiLanzo added. “It looks like a regular table, but it’s really incredible.”

The two tables will be available for use separately at both the Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses, beginning this fall. They were purchased using a Carl D. Perkins grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for funding technology that furthers the goals of career technical education students for jobs of the future.

“It is a very cool thing to able to get on both campuses,” DiLanzo noted. Faculty members have already begun to rave about the machine. They “can demonstrate anatomy they are teaching in class and highlight specific areas such as vasculature, bones, and organs very easily. The table may be used in person, or students can also learn remotely while the faculty are teaching at the table.”

At MCCC Campuses, Digitized Bodies Assist Students

“Additionally, faculty can add pathologies to the cadaver, so that students gain a better understanding of what medical conditions may look like in a human body. Faculty can incorporate case studies, labeling, quizzes and supplemental instruction for student.”

The machines’ images are based on the cadavers of four deceased individuals whose bodies were donated to science and digitally scanned. “All of them come from The National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project,” said Matthew Kilbride, an instructional technology simulation specialist at the college. “There’s a male and female Asian cadaver and there’s a male and female Caucasian cadaver.

The approximately 300-pound machine can be converted vertically and horizontally and incorporated for lectures, presentations and/or small, group work situations. Within the software users can manipulate the 3D image to zoom in and out and rotate the body as needed. Different customizable menus allow users to focus on certain sections of the body.

Photos supplied by Montgomery County Community College