Review Update: Visible Body
Featured Article
No Comments on Review Update: Visible Body 1179

Lori Driscoll, MSLS
Director, Library Services
Gulf Coast State College Library


This updated review highlights new or improved content, features, and functionality in Visible Body applications. For a more comprehensive explanation of the content and features of each, please refer to the original review published in the July 2017 issue of Doody’s Collection Development Monthly.

Visible Body offers a suite of applications covering anatomy, physiology, and pathology that includes 3D illustrations, MRI scans, cadaver images, animations, quizzes, and definitions and pronunciations available in multiple languages. The award-winning content has been created by biomedical visualization experts and reviewed by a board of professors and medical professionals. Coverage is multidisciplinary and supports basic anatomy and specialized health sciences education.

A broad range of faculty, students, and healthcare professionals use the apps for anatomy and physiology course content, labs, virtual reference, and patient education. Visible Body also is marketed for use by pharmaceutical and medical sales representatives and other healthcare businesses.

Applications are available as mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, or Android; single-user download for Windows or Mac; multiuser seat licenses; web-based site licenses; and local installs for zSpace augmented reality (AR) devices and Sectra terminals.

Updates to Content and Features

The July 2017 review covered the Human Anatomy Atlas (2017 edition), Anatomy & Physiology, Physiology Animations, and three specialty reference apps (Skeleton Premium, Heart & Circulatory Premium, and Muscle Premium):

Physiology Animations has not been updated since the last review, and the price of the mobile app remains the same.

Of the specialty applications, neither Skeleton Premium nor Heart & Circulatory Premium are featured on the Visible Body web site; and the mobile apps have not been updated.

Muscle Premium was last updated June 2018 (v7.1.14). In addition to the 3D anatomy and pathologies, the application contains seven video sets with three presentations per set, highlighting common pathologies and related biomechanics; the price has not increased for the mobile app.

Anatomy & Physiology was updated June 2018 (v5.1.01) with enhanced 3D animations that explain physiology topics, and improvements in quizzes (the user interface for quizzes was updated, and additional quizzes include both multiple choice and dissection); the mobile app price has not changed.

The Human Anatomy Atlas was last updated in November (v2018.5.73). Models load faster, and the web-based application is said to launch in under 15 seconds for most users – depending on browser and internet connection. The most significant and innovative feature is augmented reality (AR) for mobile apps, for which Visible Body created corresponding AR lab activities.

Other new features allow for customized views and improved search. New content includes a 3D gross anatomy lab, enhanced skin models, 3D dental anatomy, and microanatomy. The mobile app price has doubled; but considering the added AR content and features, it is extremely competitive.

Visible Body has expanded support for instruction with free tutorials and resources on the website. Free teaching resources include lab activities for use with the Atlas and an Anatomy & Physiology correlation guide for instructors to match the content of their textbook. More free learning content is available on the Visible Body Blog, Visible Body Learn website, and YouTube.

Course Integration

For learning management system (LMS) integration, Visible Body developed two products: Course Packs and Courseware. Course Packs allow Visible Body content to be accessed from within LMS platforms including Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, and D2L. Courseware is a self-contained LMS that can share information with the institution’s LMS platform. Each product offers different options for how to assign content and manage the course. Because it is not limited by the institution’s LMS, Courseware has more options.

Course Packs are available with one or more of the following apps: Human Anatomy Atlas 2017, Muscle Premium 2017, Anatomy & Physiology 2018. Courseware contains more recently updated applications: Human Anatomy Atlas 2018, Anatomy & Physiology 2018, Muscle Premium 2018, and Physiology Animations. If students need LMS access to Physiology Animations or AR in the Human Anatomy Atlas, they need Courseware.

Course Packs include a quiz bank with multiple choice and dissection quizzes; quizzes cannot be edited but may integrate with the gradebook/reporting features of the institution’s LMS. Within Visible Body Courseware, the instructor can do the following:

  • select and assign visual and interactive assets;
  • upload or link to outside content;
  • select one of three pre-made courses available on the platform and use them as-is, edit as needed, or create new;
  • use a question and quiz bank with multiple choice, dissection, and short answer quizzes, or edit or create new questions and quizzes.

Courseware also includes a gradebook with detailed student quiz results, a class roster, the option to add/remove students from a course, and the ability to send announcements to students. Gradebook results can be transferred to the institution’s LMS (Blackboard, D2L, Canvas, Moodle).

Personally-identifiable information is not collected from students in Course Packs but is in Courseware. Courseware requires a login with a name and an email address then uses that information to add a student to a course roster, track student work and performance on assignments that report to the gradebook, and score those assignments.

For either Course Packs or Courseware, access to products can be purchased directly by students or by the institution per student. Regardless of how purchased, students retain downloaded apps after the Courseware subscription expires. College bookstores can “stock” Visible Body apps by reselling serial numbers; the bookstores receive a volume discount.

Key Takeaways

Because Visible Body markets products to different user groups, applications can be purchased or licensed for access through a variety of means, including mobile apps, installed software, or web-based site licenses. Once an application has been installed on a mobile device or computer, internet access is not required for use; however, the performance of the web-based products depends on browser and download speed.

The Human Anatomy Atlas is a compendious reference for academic teaching and learning, patient education, and healthcare business use; and it has been updated significantly since last reviewed.

Specialty modules, such as Muscle Premium and Physiology Animations provide additional animations and videos for specific systems and common pathologies.

Anatomy and Physiology offers an interactive alternative or supplement to the traditional textbook used for a two-semester anatomy and physiology course. The Atlas complements this interactive text for instruction.

Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) dental hygiene faculty were particularly excited about the updates to the Atlas. Dental students have found it particularly helpful to rotate the views to mimic a patient lying in the dental exam chair. GCSC physical therapy assisting students have used the Muscle Premium package often; the instructor has said that while students can manipulate an articulated skeleton into unnatural positions, the VB muscle animations show how the muscles are supposed to work. A variety of students have reported to librarians that, while they love all the VB bells and whistles, they particularly love the pronunciation feature and remark that it has saved them from embarrassment during class presentations! But the most frequent comment from health sciences students during instruction or a reference consultation is, “Where was this when I was taking A&P?”

For more information, visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a comment

Back to Top