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Take a trip around the human body with Body Browser

Take a trip around the human b...
Google Labs has revealed an interesting example of HTML5 and WebGL technology in the Body Browser, an interactive 3D journey through and around the human body
Google Labs has revealed an interesting example of HTML5 and WebGL technology in the Body Browser, an interactive 3D journey through and around the human body
View 10 Images
The model spins on a horizontal axis, with zooming being taken care of by Google Maps-like navigation buttons or via the scroll wheel on the mouse
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The model spins on a horizontal axis, with zooming being taken care of by Google Maps-like navigation buttons or via the scroll wheel on the mouse
In dire need of a skin graft - users are offered all-in-one slider or individual layer control
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In dire need of a skin graft - users are offered all-in-one slider or individual layer control
Clicking on the stomach brings it into sharp focus and a helpful label pops up
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Clicking on the stomach brings it into sharp focus and a helpful label pops up
Identification of highlighted body parts will provide useful assistance to students of the human body
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Identification of highlighted body parts will provide useful assistance to students of the human body
The Body Browser's start screen offers a 3D model waiting for some skin peeling and muscle slicing action
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The Body Browser's start screen offers a 3D model waiting for some skin peeling and muscle slicing action
The Body Browser offers vein and artery level detail
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The Body Browser offers vein and artery level detail
Skin gone, muscles removed - organs on display
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Skin gone, muscles removed - organs on display
Getting closer to the brain with the Body Browser
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Getting closer to the brain with the Body Browser
Google Labs has revealed an interesting example of HTML5 and WebGL technology in the Body Browser, an interactive 3D journey through and around the human body
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Google Labs has revealed an interesting example of HTML5 and WebGL technology in the Body Browser, an interactive 3D journey through and around the human body
Slowly peeling away skin and muscle with the Body Browser from Google Labs
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Slowly peeling away skin and muscle with the Body Browser from Google Labs
View gallery - 10 images

Google has answered the call of students of anatomy who would find something like the Autopsy Table or the Visualization Table a useful addition to the educational arsenal, but who can't afford the huge price tag. Although still very much in the experimental stage, the Body Browser allows users to slice through layers of skin and tissue of a three dimensional model of a human body using virtual knives, and explore the various systems that make us tick.

Offered as a showcase for WebGL technology, which allows a browser to render 3D graphics without the need for plugins, the Body Browser currently resides with Google Labs. Anyone who has a WebGL-enabled browser – such as the very latest builds of Chrome and Firefox for Windows and Safari for Mac – should be able to peel back various layers, zoom in and out, and search for specific body parts in much the same way as you would look for a town or region in Google Maps.

Skin gone, muscles removed - organs on display
Skin gone, muscles removed - organs on display

As you can see from the gallery, I used Google's Chrome to slice and search my way through a number of inner body locations, spinning the virtual model on its horizontal axis. There's a search box on the right if you're looking for something specific, and the navigation bar to the left gives you control over the virtual knife. In one mode, moving a slider up and down the scale removes skin, bone, organs, and so on from the model. In another, each section is given its own slider to allow subtle combinations of bone, circulation, nerves and muscle to be revealed.

This is an impressive HTML5 and WebGL outing, and I for one am looking forward to following its development. Google Labs is asking for feature suggestions and will be bringing a male model to the platform in the near future, not that it makes much difference as it stands. Students of the human body will currently have to try and curb any desire to reveal any revealing parts, if you know what I mean.

View gallery - 10 images
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