Body Illustrated: The Anatomical Guide. (educational software) (Evaluation)
by Karen Lee Seipak
"Know thyself." This cryptic inscription at the Delphic Oracle wasn't referring to our physical bodies, but with Body Illustrated, it takes on a whole new meaning. With this program, you can learn all about what makes your body tick. A richly detailed anatomical guide, Body Illustrated teaches you about all the body's systems and structures.
This isn't a superficial overview. Spirit of Discovery has realistically portrayed every major system in the body in full color, with information on 350 body parts. You'll learn about everything from the top of your parietal bones to the tip of your phalanges. Students at the college level will find this a wonderful study aid, yet it's accessible to those at the junior high level as well.
The body's parts are portrayed in bright colors, enabling you to see the shape of each one and how it fits with others. When you click on a part, a digitized voice pronounces its name clearly, so you'll be able to say things like sternocleidomastoid with confidence.
There are four modes in the program. Tutorial shows you how to navigate the other modes. Encyclopedia alphabetically lists all the parts; click on a word to see a part's most favorable view and an explanation of its function. Exploration and Lessons are the two teaching modes. In them, individual parts are highlighted within their respective systems, and a text window explains the selected part's function and location. In Exploration, you can wander through the body, while Lesson focuses on one system at a time.
There's also a game which tests your knowledge. The object is to find a named part before the heart/ECG timer flat-lines. Ten people can play, each racing against the clock. Body Illustrated earns kudos for letting people at different skill levels play together. At the easiest level, you need only double-click on the part named in the system pictured. The hardest level requires you to find the correct system and then the part.
Included with the program are a fullcolor poster picturing all the anatomical parts and a manual that includes a poster guide, naming each part and explaining it in detail. This makes a handy review guide for students who can't get back to their computers to study.
With its realistic drawings, detailed explanations, digitized pronunciations, and fluid interface, Body Illustrated makes a superb educational package. It encourages exploration and makes it fun to learn about the body.
KAREN LEE SIEPAK