BoneBox Skull Viewer app for iPad is a 3D medical education tool

Purpose of App Review

To evaluate BoneBox as an educational tool for teaching and learning the anatomy of the skull.

Introduction

BoneBox Skull Viewer is an iPad app that uses interactive 3D graphics to replicate the experience of studying anatomy from a human skull.

At the beginning of medical school, we were all given a “bone box” that contained a real human skeleton to study from. I spent hours pouring over the details of the bones, especially the skull. I wondered how well this app could replicate and maybe even enhance that experience.

User Interface

BoneBox is focused around a 3-D model of a skull that the user can manipulate to see the skull from all angles.

The user can choose from several cross sections. Colorized versions highlight the different bones.

When turned on, labels mark anatomic landmarks. The user taps the pins to turn on and off the labels.

The user can add pins with new labels. These pins are visible in all the different skull views, and are present even when labels are turned off. The new pins are deleted whenever the app restarts.

The draw function allows free-handed drawing in several different colors over the skull. The lines drawn appear to be on the surface of the skull when it is turned. Like pins, drawings are also deleted when the app restarts.

This two minute video created by the developer is a thorough and accurate depiction of the app’s functionality.

I really enjoyed using BoneBox. It actually feels like learning from a real skull, with the added benefit of interactive drawing and labels.

So how does BoneBox compare to other iPad anatomy apps? Netters ($89.99) relies on 2D images, which don’t recreate the experience of holding a skull. The Visible Body ($29.99) is a much more extensive 3D anatomy app that integrates more anatomic systems, but the graphics of the skull are not as polished. Skeletal System Pro III ($14.99) has similarly superb quality graphics and boasts more extensive educational features. Look out for our upcoming review of Skeleton System Pro 2 from Visible Body.

BoneBox teaches bony anatomy of the skull well, but not much else. Because of its limited focus, it may be redundant for those already using one of the apps above.

Price

  • $1.99

Likes

  • Fantastic graphics with intuitive controls
  • Extensive anatomic labels
  • Multiple cross sections and colorized options helpful
  • Interactive pins and drawing tools applicable for teaching and learning

Dislikes

  • No option to save pins or drawings
  • Can’t turn off created pins in the same way you can turn off included pins for self study
  • No educational descriptions included with the labels

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  • Those studying or teaching bony anatomy of the skull.

Patients that may benefit from app

  • Those that want to learn more about the bony anatomy of the skull.

Conclusions

  • BoneBox is a beautiful app that successfully recreates the experience of learning cranial anatomy from a real human skull with superb interactive 3D graphics.
  • Interactive education features are helpful, but don’t offer the same extensive learning tools that other more comprehensive anatomy apps for iPad do.
  • Priced affordably for those just looking for a focused skull anatomy app.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Yes.

Rating: 4.5

  • User Interface – 5 – Very easy to navigate.
  • Multimedia usage – 5 – Phenomenal interactive 3D graphics.
  • Price – 5 – $1.99 is affordable.
  • Real world applicability – 3 – Tremendously helpful for learning bony anatomy of the skull, but does not include other components of skeletal or neurologic anatomy in context. May be redundant for those who already use a 3D anatomy app.

Disclaimer:
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.

Author:

Shannon McNamara, MD
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