CWRU students use new technology to explore human body during remote lessons

Coronavirus
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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go inside the human body and its complex systems? Case Western Reserve University medical students are using cutting-edge technology to do just that from the comfort of their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re the first educational institution to be shown this new technology called a Microsoft HoloLens,” said Mark Griswold, a professor of radiology who is one of the faculty leaders for the HoloAnatomy project.

The HoloAnatomy curriculum, the first third-party application for the Microsoft HoloLens device, launched in fall 2019, opening just a few months after the new Health Education Campus (HEC) of Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic.

The headset devices were shipped in mid-March to 185 first-year students in the U.S. and Canada from the university’s school of medicine.

The university said since the health education campus opened, first and second-year students have been able to use this technology in lessons, now doing so on a larger scale.

“What we had to do was redo some of the ways we do the communication between the different devices and set up a new way for teachers to be able to teach and we were able to do that in about two weeks.”

“We’re having these live sessions and our professor Dr. Wish-Baratz is joining us via Zoom,” said Kevin Zhai, a first-year medical student. 

Griswold explained just how are interactive the devices are. 

“Our students can use the HoloLens to walk around the digital body and they can even stick their head inside so they can see the heart from the inside, the brain from the inside.”

“I think it really allows us to appreciate some of the relationships between the structures in a lot of exquisite detail,” said Zhai.

“About 60 percent of them actually prefer the remote education to the in-person one, which is different from what I would’ve guessed,” Griswold said.

If COVID-19 prevents students and faculty from returning to campus in the fall — they anticipate continuing the remote classes.

“No matter what happens with the virus we’re going to be ready to go here,” Griswold said.

“It’s an incredible privilege to be able to use this kind of technology,” Zhai said.

You can view a video compilation of the first several classes here

You can read more about the technology here

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