by: Michael Wong, MD

Learning anatomy is one of the first daunting tasks for medical students early in their academic career, and most of us that have been through medical school will remember those days well.

The team at Goodwill Enterprise Development attempts to offer a helping hand to students with their 3D CG human anatomy models on their Android-exclusive app, Anatomy 3D – Anatronica.

The $4.99 “Pro” version provides full access to all of Anatronica’s content and a free version is available for users to test drive on their devices.

Although seemingly optimized for tablets, Android users will be able to enjoy this 3D experience on smartphones as well.

Anatomy has always held a fascination for the medical crowd. As for me, my Gross Anatomy course was the first class that made me finally feel like a true medical student and make medical school stand out from my undergraduate days. Not surprisingly, anatomy is also a topic of interest to app developers and is pretty well explored and developed in the smartphone arena.

In the iTunes App Store, there is an abundance of anatomy apps, including many 3D anatomy apps, allowing students to pick and choose to their liking. However, on the Android Play Market, fully functional 3D anatomy apps are still relatively scarce with Anatronica being one of the few.

Unfortunately for this review, I only have my trusty Motorola Atrix 4G handset to test this app out. Although I cannot absolutely say how the tablet version of this app performs because of this, I like the app enough on my phone that I am sure it will be just as good, if not better, on the tablet.

That being said, let’s dig in and take a look at Goodwill’s Anatronica.

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The developers included a legend on how to navigate using multitouch early on when you load up the app which is helpful, because the old “pinch n’ zoom” method doesn’t work here. In fact, despite using the two finger slide as instructed by the legend, finger zooming was rather buggy for me on my Atrix 4G and I ended up using the dedicated navigation buttons for my zooming needs.

To be fair, using the control buttons did not deter my experience at all. Otherwise, rotation and selecting anatomy parts were  smooth with no issues at all. When using Anatronica, I usually find myself with my left thumb set up for zooming and panning while my right fingers rotate and select objects.

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The navigation controls are rather self-explanatory, but still may present a small learning curve to overcome at first. The options at the lower left corner provide a selection of “Anatomy Systems,” “Search with Object Hierarchy,” “Object Data,” and “Quiz Mode” functions as well as a miscellaneous options menu.