Porn for Hypochondriacs: BioDigital Human

July’s New York Tech Meetup was a big one, and not just in terms of numbers (about 850 people packed the Skirball auditorium at NYU). The lineup was tight, with several very strong demos, but the one that really blew people away was BioDigital Human.

biodigital human screenshot

Like pornography for hypochondriacs, BioDigital Human loads a complete 3D model of the human body in your web browser. Every organ, every nerve, every artery — complete. Interactivity is what makes the model exciting though. With a few clicks you can zoom in to any organ, spin it to view from any perspective, reveal and hide layers of muscle, bone, nerves, etc., use a dissection tool to remove selected portions, or use a cross-section tool to analyze a slice (as you might with a CT scan) — you can even simulate a heart condition and other common medical conditions.

BioDigital, the company, has worked with clients from Medtronic to Stem Cell Therapeutics and clearly has deep value for companies with deep pockets, but their Human model is free for all to access online. Working closely with NYU School of Medicine, the creators have worked diligently to accurately represent organs and health conditions with enough accuracy and detail that the model can be used to train tomorrow’s doctors. By making it freely available, they’re providing a valuable tool for coaches, dancers, athletes, and, of course, all of us hypochondriacs.

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[A similar version of this story was originally written for The Faster Times and published July 6, 2011.]

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