Review of Blausen Human Atlas Lite for the iOS platform

I have reviewed this iPhone medical application for iMedicalApps.com.

The full review can be read below on this site or here at iMedicalApps: http://www.imedicalapps.com/2010/11/blausen-human-atlas-provides-beautifully-rendered-human-anatomy-and-animations-useful-for-clinicians-and-patients-iphone/

Blausen Human Atlas Lite [iPhone] – Animated Human Disease and Anatomy

Review by: Brian Wells, MS-3, MSM, MPH

Human anatomy. It’s one of the foundations of medicine and a hurdle that any aspiring clinician must surmount in his or her mastery of the basic sciences. However, whether you are an experienced clinician, a sleep-deprived medical student, or an aspiring scholar in one of the other medically-related professions, you’ll find a lot to like in this application.

From the description in iTunes: The Blausen English Human Atlas combines 3D medical animations in English with a cross searchable medical term glossary and detailed still images. For doctors, nurses, students and consumer caregivers, this is the ideal resource for communicating core concepts, right in the palm of your hand and right at point of care.


In its opening graphic, the Blausen Human Atlas gives you a picture of the information contained within. The opening page contains a 3D representation of a male human body that can be rotated left and right and zoomed in and out. Major blood vessels, organs, bones and selected muscles and lymph nodes are clearly visible in the 3D representation.

On this home screen, there are options for watching videos and browsing the glossary of conditions or anatomical parts. Please note that this application does require internet access via 3G or Wi-Fi. Normally, I do not prefer applications that are internet-only without at least the option of caching but it makes sense in this case as the space required to store all images and videos would not be a welcome tradeoff to using an internet connection.

As one can quickly see, the glossary contains a number of images about which to learn and view. The images are beautifully rendered and allow for zooming with the normal pinch and spread methods on the iOS platform. However, for some items there are multiple images and the description does not change based on the image. This could be confusing for some since some images (such as those with the esophagus) incorporate surgical procedures yet the description tagged to the picture still only describes the anatomy. These images are also often still captures from the video and are thus not 3D renders and do not allow for rotation.

Several videos are available in the Lite version. However, the full version contains over 150 3D animations.

In addition to the animations, the full version also has 3D rotatable renders of nine full body systems, a searchable 1,500+ term medical glossary and 1,200 still images from the animations.

In the application itself, other atlases are available for purchase. Each atlas listing provides a brief description as well as a link for in-app purchase. The Atlas also supports 12 languages, those being Arabic, British, Castilian, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish.

Unfortunately, since this is the Lite version, a true comparison cannot be made with other sources, such as the Flash Cards (iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/netters-anatomy-flash-cards/id385415922?mt=8) or Netter’s Anatomy Rohen’s Photographic Anatomy Flash Cards (iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rohens-photographic-anatomy/id338231581?mt=8). Students looking to use this Atlas as a source of study material should consider the depth of content in the Atlas compared with their individual learning goals.

An additional use to consider would be that the Atlas can be used to help explain conditions to patients. Instead of just showing a few non-moving images and trying to simplify the condition verbally so that the information is communicated successfully, the clinician can reference one of the many videos with its audio commentary to help ensure the patient understands his/her condition. This can help be a launching point for the patient to explore his/her concerns and ask questions to address those concerns, all the while improving the patient’s experience and the rapport between the patient and clinician.

Overall, I was quite impressed by the clarity and ease of use of this application. While my review was of the Lite version, if the quality in the Lite version is any indication of the full Atlas, I would say users are in for quite a treat. The animations are nicely rendered with appropriate commentary and the still images adequately convey information without being overly complex or over the top in their use of technology.

I would easily recommend users of the iOS platform to download the Lite version of the Atlas and see it in action. I think you’ll be impressed as well.

Video Review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgLVolnH230

iTunes Links:

Blausen Human Atlas Lite: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blausen-human-atlas-lite/id328339533?mt=8

Blausen Human Atlas: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blausen-human-atlas/id308338025?mt=8#

Testing Platform: This application was tested on a 32 GB iPhone 4 running iOS 4.0.1. Data access was provided over 802.11n Wi-Fi on a 17 Mbps/1 Mbps connection with a 24 ms ping as measured by Speedtest.net (http://www.speedtest.net).

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