The Human Body 3D Anatomy App enables you to view different organ systems from a 3D perspective.  The app also offers an encyclopedia with some basic information about the organ systems.  It currently holds the #2 ranking in the paid medical apps section and costs $3.99.  This app has some of the same 3D features and graphics found in the 3D Brain app, which we recently reviewed.  Unlike the 3D Brain app that has detailed labeling of structures, this app’s largest shortcoming is the lack of labels on any of the structures present. I’ll mention more of these shortcomings in this full review.

different systems 3 When you open this app you are presented with three options.  Encyclopedia, 3D organs, or Radiography.

Encyclopedia mode gives you different organ systems to choose from.  Once you have selected your system, you are given some basic information about your selected system with some aesthetically pleasing pictures.  I found the cardiology system to be the best because it talks about basic physiology of how the heart works.  Unfortunately, the information is too basic for a medical student or someone in a college/graduate level anatomy class.  You can find essentially the same information in Wikipedia.

heart systems 4 The 3D organs system has great aesthetics.  The pictures render quickly and are fun to look at, much like the 3D brain app.  You can rotate the pictures 360 degrees and zoom in and out.  The largest shortcoming of this app is made glaringly clear in this section.  There are no labels!!  In the picture I’ve included you can see the heart and brain, which look beautiful, and you can manipulate these pictures in essentially a three dimensional fashion, but you can’t see any labels.  This makes the app useless for people learning anatomy, or even patients who want to find a particular structure.

brain 3d 5 The Radiography option of this app allows you to see x-rays of the chest, head, arms, and legs.  There is random information in each of these sections about the particular x-ray format.  (e.g., The difference between an AP view and a PA view).  The images are in this weird greenish tint that I’ve never seen before.  None of the x-rays are actually explained, rather you just get info about the type of x-ray.  Again, this all looks pretty, but for people in a graduate level  course or medical school, it’s not useful.  However, I could see how this information might be useful for a patient with laymen knowledge about x-rays.
chest x-ray 6
knee 7

What I liked:
  • I really like the overall User Interface of this app.  It’s clean and not cluttered.
  • There is a nice tutorial section that gives a good explanation about how to navigate the application
  • Could potentially be used to show patients the localization of their disease pathology in the relevant organ system
  • 3D navigation of organ systems is athletically pleasing and utilizes the graphics of the iPhone
What I didn’t like as much:
  • No labeling of the organ systems, or anything else for that matter.  Basically making the app useless for Anatomy Study
  • Information in the encyclopedia is too basic and not in depth
  • Not a fan of the green tint of the x-ray images
  • Not enough 3D images of each organ system, e.g., you can see a full lung, but you cant see the cross sections.

encyclopedia 8
3 options 9

What could be improved upon:
  • Labels, Labels, Labels, Labels. I cant emphasize that enough.  A glaring example of this is the 3D image of the brain, which is color coded into proper lobes, but there are no labels!
  • More 3D images of each organ system: e.g., It would be great to have the ability to see the heart valves and then show a patient the mitral valve
  • Pictures of pathologic conditions, or “damaged” organ systems: e.g. This is what the intestines of a patient who has Crohn’s disease looks like.

It should be noted I’m reviewing this app from a medical perspective, which is why I don’t really find it useful for medical professionals.  It seems this app would be better suited to be in the Healthcare section of the app store, rather than the medical.  The app has a great user interface and people who want to see cool images of organ systems might like this application.

This app is definitely not useful for studying anatomy but has a great potential to do this in the future.  If labels were added to this application, people studying basic anatomy would find it useful.  Until then, there isn’t really an educational component to this application, other than the sparse encylopedia it contains.

The only way I can see the 3D organs section and Radiography section being useful is if you are trying to explain to a patient the pathology of a disease and where it’s localized.  But you better know where to look for, because there are no labels to guide you.

To me this app seems to be more of a novelty application that would find a larger audience if it was in the healthcare section of the App Store.  I can see people with a layman understanding of anatomy finding it useful and fun to use because of the 3D rendering of organ systems, maybe that’s the reason for its high ranking in the App Store.

This app definitely has potential, but until labels are added, I wouldn’t recommend it to people in the medical field.