Primal Pictures – Free, just log in with your Penn Key! You may need to install a browser plugin before you launch for the first time.
Last month I reviewed three touch-friendly anatomy apps from Visible Body – which are really great – but Primal Pictures is also a great option for 3D anatomy studies.
If you have a PennKey and access to a computer with Flash, you can take advantage of Penn’s subscription to Primal Pictures. Primal Pictures is a very large set of interactive anatomy resources. There are separate sections for certain specialties (such as dentistry, radiology, and more!) and for sports medicine and surgery. Additionally, you can access an excellent Regional Study Guide from the main screen. The Study Guide describes each region’s basic structures in a clear, textbook-like format.
One of the best things about this application are the detailed tutorials you see upon launching a new viewing window. Each of the comprehensive regional anatomy set contains a large layered image. Using the menu at the bottom of the screen, you can rotate the image one frame at a time and move through the layers to reveal different systems. Selecting a structure results in a visual highlight of the area and in-depth text in the information box.
Make sure to check out the top menu for other viewing options. You can look at a side-by-side comparison of an illustrated cross section with an MRI, and switch between views of the axial, sagittal, and coronal planes. You can also study traditional anatomy images in the Slide view, which contains the MRI images, illustrations, and photographs. Available animations or movies will also be indicated in the top menu.
If you want the ability to click and drag to spin body parts, you’ll need to go back to the main screen and visit the 3D real-time body section of Primal Pictures. You can then select a region and handle it intuitively, pinning and highlighting structures. You also have control over the surrounding views – for instance, you can fade the surrounding structures in order to further emphasize your selection. The Pins feature allows you to leave custom notes attached to any structure. When you’re finished, you can click the “Save Still” button to save your final view. This is a great way to get images for use in your scientific posters or presentations.