Exploring the human body with Flash and video

Scientists have made amazing discoveries about the human body over the years, but because journalists and scientists speak two different languages, trying to explain those discoveries can be difficult. What better way to explain the complex processes of the body than through new media?

Specialized Bicycle Components has put together an amazing interactive Flash animation to demonstrate how bicycles, and more specifically the company’s products, interact with the human body. The centerpiece of the project is a figure stripped down to blood, bone and sinew that mimics the different movements of a bicycle rider. Users can toggle between a number of bike moves, including the spin and the hammer, and simultaneously isolate several systems in the body, including the nervous and circulatory systems.

The next presentation isn’t for the faint of heart (pun intended). Hybrid Medical Animation, in order to present the viewer with a clearer understanding of the beating heart, has created the Hybrid Interactive Heart. Users can toggle between the opaque tissue of the organ and a “glass” version that shows the inner workings of the heart. The result is absolutely mind-blowing and somewhat hypnotic. A similar video animation shows the beating heart with blood flow.

As part of its “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibit, the Museum of Modern Art hosts a project entitled The Inner Life of the Cell. According to the creators “We follow a macrophage as it patrols the wall of a capillary and encounters a chemical signal from a capillary cell indicating that an inflammatory event has occurred in surrounding tissue.” In layman’s terms, it is a visually stunning video that shows with scientific accuracy what’s going on beneath the skin.

(Note: The next site is admittedly a little morbid but is safe to view at work.)

Interactive Autopsy, as it’s name suggests, allows visitors to go through the steps of performing an autopsy, including removing and weighing the internal organs and cutting and stitching the body. In the middle of the interactive is a brief video of a forensic pathologist who discusses the removal of the brain. At the end of the project is a link to read more about the instruments used in autopsy that, honestly, rival those used in any Hollywood horror movie.