The Use of 3D Scanning for the Teaching of External Neuroanatomical Structures

Presenter: Colin Bernardo

Research Category: Health Sciences
PI: Robert Sikes
Award: Entrepreneurship
Award Winner Category: Health Sciences

Introduction: Students studying neuroanatomy have difficulty visualizing the complex anatomical structures of the brain. Three dimensional (3D) visualizations have been shown to be effective as a supplement to cadaveric specimens. The aim of this project was to support learning efficacy by developing photorealistic 3D virtual models of human brain specimens. Previous studies have shown that 3D imaging and eLearning technology enhances student learning.

Hypothesis: Students will support the use of these 3D models as a way to improve their understanding of external neurological anatomy and build confidence in their knowledge.

Methods: Three human brains were photographed and converted into virtual 3D models using Autodesk 123D Catch and Adobe Photoshop. These models were provided for use in an educational environment. Students were surveyed to determine how their exposure to the 3D representations of human brains would impact learning. Survey data was analyzed and the results used to further improve the efficacy of such models for future students.

Strengths/Limitations: Strengths included enhancing the level of knowledge of neuroanatomy and computer-aided design. Potential challenges with this project included finding an accurate scanning method, as well as a way to utilize cadaveric brains in a safe and respectful manner.

Relevance: Clinical health care providers have identified that knowledge of neuroanatomy is important in clinical practice. The advancement of technology allows the creation of accurate 3D models. In the future, the virtual model has the potential to be printed at low cost, providing an additional resource for students.