Augmented Reality App Helps Students Explore Human Biology

Augmented Reality App

Students can use their smartphones or tablets to scan barcodes, which then provide a detailed interactive 3D model of the human body.

An app developed by a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen will use similar techniques to Pokemon Go and Snapchat to help explain fundamental biological processes.

Dr John Barrow, a senior lecturer in Molecular Biology, was awarded a £10,000 funding grant to develop the augmented reality (AR) app to provide learning materials for students to understand how the body works at a microscopic level.

Students can use their smartphones or tablets to scan barcodes, which then provide a detailed interactive 3D model of the human body.

Bodily functions such as blood flow, breathing and how muscles work can all be viewed on the interactive app. Dr Barrow said the app could help revolutionise teaching methods and give students a never-before-experienced level of insight into how the human body functions.

“This is a different way of teaching,” he said. “The current teaching methods that the vast majority of students are used to will involve lectures and textbooks.

“A lot of the things I teach are at an extremely small scale in our bodies and therefore it is very hard for students to visualise and understand because they are abstract concepts. I’m trying to create a far more interactive and immersive experience.”

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When using conventional teaching methods, Dr Barrow explained that this subject is usually taught through using images, or with video content.

By using this app, teachers and lecturers can go into far more detailed areas of the human anatomy and thus provide a more enriching experience for students.

“The idea behind the project is to take some of these fundamental biological processes and bring them to life using this augmented reality method, allowing students to see some of these functioning,” he explained. “Normally, these processes would be explained through still images or with videos projects on the wall, but we’re trying to bring these to life so you can really see the process in action.”



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