Virtual Reality Educational Tool for Human Anatomy

  • Santiago González Izard
  • Juan A. Juanes Méndez
  • Pablo Ruisoto PalomeraEmail author
Education & Training
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Latest Technology Trends in Health Sciences (TEEM 2016)


Virtual Reality is becoming widespread in our society within very different areas, from industry to entertainment. It has many advantages in education as well, since it allows visualizing almost any object or going anywhere in a unique way. We will be focusing on medical education, and more specifically anatomy, where its use is especially interesting because it allows studying any structure of the human body by placing the user inside each one. By allowing virtual immersion in a body structure such as the interior of the cranium, stereoscopic vision goggles make these innovative teaching technologies a powerful tool for training in all areas of health sciences. The aim of this study is to illustrate the teaching potential of applying Virtual Reality in the field of human anatomy, where it can be used as a tool for education in medicine. A Virtual Reality Software was developed as an educational tool. This technological procedure is based entirely on software which will run in stereoscopic goggles to give users the sensation of being in a virtual environment, clearly showing the different bones and foramina which make up the cranium, and accompanied by audio explanations. Throughout the results the structure of the cranium is described in detailed from both inside and out. Importance of an exhaustive morphological knowledge of cranial fossae is further discussed. Application for the design of microsurgery is also commented.


Virtual reality Stereoscopic vision Immersive system Medical training Training virtual tool Human anatomy 



This project was possible thanks to the help of the ARSOFT company members, specialized in the implementation of advanced Virtual Reality systems. We also want to highlight the contribution of the research group VisualMed System, from the University of Salamanca for its active participation in the creation of the contents of the project as well as in the generation of the 3D skull model from the radiological images.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The author declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


  1. 1.
    Henn JS, Lemole GM, Jr, Ferreira MA, Gonzalez LF, Schornak M, Preul MC and Spetzler R (2002) Interactive stereoscopic virtual reality: A new tool for neurosurgical education: Technical note. J. Neurosurg. 96:144–149.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Quintero, C., Sarmiento, W.J., and Sierra-Ballén, E.L., Diseño de un prototipo de Sistema de Realidad Virtual Inmersivo Simplificado. En: Ciencia e Ingeniería Neogranadina. 18:35–50, 2008.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kuntze MF, Stoermer R and Mager R (200) Immersive virtual environments in cues exposure. Cyberpsychology and Behavior 4: 497–501.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Van Dam, A., Laidlaw, D.H., and Simpson, R.M., Experiments in immersive virtual reality for scientific visualization. Comput. Graph. 26:535–555, 2002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Häfner, P., Häfner, V., and Ovtcharova, J., Teaching methodology for virtual reality practical course in engineering education. Procedia - Procedia Comput. Sci. 25:251–260, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sauter, P.M., VR2Go a new method for virtual reality development. En: ACM SIGGRAPH Comput. Graph. 37(1):19–24, 2003.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nichols, S., and Patel, H., Health and safety implications of virtual reality: A review of empirical evidence. Appl. Ergon. 33:251–271, 2002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Burdea, G., and Coiffet, P., Virtual reality technology. Presence Teleop. Virt. 12:663–664, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kizony, R., and Katz, N., Adapting an immersive virtual reality system for rehabilitation. J. Vis. Comput. Animat. 14:261–268, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Johnsen, K., Dickerson, R., Raij, A., Lok, B., Jackson, J., Shin, M., and Lind, D. S., Experiences in using immersive virtual characters to educate medical communication skills. In Virtual Reality, In Proceedings IEEE. 179–186, 2005.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Psotka, J., Immersive training systems: Virtual reality and education and training. Instr. Sci. 23:405–431, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kilteni, K., Normand, J.M., Sanchez-Vives, M.V., and Slater, M., Extending body space in immersive virtual reality: A very long arm illusion. PLoS One. 7:40867, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chan, S., Conti, F., Salisbury, K., and Blevins, N.H., Virtual reality simulation in neurosurgery: Technologies and evolution. Neurosurgery. 72:154–164, 2013.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Stadie, A.T., Kockro, R.A., Reisch, R., Tropine, A., Boor, S., Stoeter, P., and Perneczky, A., Virtual reality system for planning minimally invasive neurosurgery. J. Neurosurg. 108:382–394, 2008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Coleman, J., Nduka, C.C., and Darzi, A., Virtual reality and laparoscopic surgery. Br. J. Surg. 81:1709–1711, 1994.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Aman, S.M., Low cost virtual reality for medical training. IEEE Xplore Virtual Reality, 2015.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santiago González Izard
    • 1
  • Juan A. Juanes Méndez
    • 2
  • Pablo Ruisoto Palomera
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.ARSOFTSalamancaSpain
  2. 2.VisualMed System GroupUniversity of SalamancaSalamancaSpain
  3. 3.VisualMed System GroupUniversidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain
  4. 4.European University of MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations