This is something I have been waiting ages to see. I love Google Earth, Google Sky, Google Moon etc. But there was nothing for a biologist like me. I remember asking on Twitter in October if there would ever be a Google Maps for the human body. And now there is. Google Body browser.

Google Body gives you a fully-explorable 3D body. You can move about, zoom in, like you can in Google Earth. And it’s fast – very responsive – at least on my home computer anyway. At the moment it wont run in every browser (see later) but hopefully that will change very soon.

The slider on the left hand side lets you reveal different body systems, such as the muscular, skeletal, digestive and nervous. You can turn labels on or off. You can choose between one global slider – or switch to having a slider for each system (the bottom icon does this)

Double click on any organ to isolate it from the rest of the body. It will stay visible while the rest of the body fades out to make it clearer to see it.

Unlike other web based body models that I have seen on, you don’t need to have Flash, Java, or other plugins installed. Google Body will run on any browser that supports the WebGL standard. At the moment this means that only developer or beta versions of FireFox and Chrome will run it right now, but expect to see WebGL will be supported by all browsers in 2011 for sure.

This will make teaching about the human body much better on an interactive whiteboard. Combine this with the desktop annotation or image capture and annotate to label organs and systems, or to just explore different organs in detail. Hopefully in the future there’ll be links to microscope or internal images, and maybe links to pages of information about each part. For now the tool is in beta, so there’s scope for more features to be added.

Thanks to Dai Barnes for the tip off on Twitter last night!

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