Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 72 / MAY 1986 / PAGE 52

The Body In Focus

Larry Krengel

Requirements: Commodore 64; Apple II-series computer with at least 64K RAM; IBM PC with color/graphics adapter, or an IBM PCjr. Disk only.

I'm always excited when I see computer software that displays impressive graphics. And The Body in Focus is exciting software. What's more, this human anatomy program is educational, accurate, and engaging.
    I've been teaching biology for 15 years. When I first examined The Body in Focus, I found it to be technically correct. But why did I continue looking at the program long after I had assured myself it was biologically valid? Because I didn't want to miss any of the great graphic presentations.
    For example, the designers must have burned the midnight oil to make the simulated body sneeze and even raise goose bumps. My kids thought they were seeing things when the skeleton swung its head around to demonstrate a pivot joint. (When you can't believe what you're seeing, one kevpress repeats the action.)

The Body in Focus
With The Body in Focus, anyone can
have X-ray vision. (Commodore 64

    The Body in Focus comes on two disks. The first contains tutorials, and the second presents questions based on the tutorials. Eight vital body systems are covered-including the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, skeletal, nervous, digestive, muscular, and integumentary (skin, that is). A tour of each system takes 10 to 15 minutes.
    To illustrate each body system, the disk contains three "body closeups": a closeup view of each system within the head, torso, and arm. The closeups let you strip away the body layer by layer, going deeper and deeper. It's like a graphic dissection. If you find one of the screens particularly interesting, there's a "tell me more" key which calls up a more complete discussion of what you see.

Body Trivia
The second disk contains a library of more than 200 questions based on the tutorials. If you think you already know a lot about the human body, try the "body I.Q. test" before using the tutorials. Do you know how many taste buds there are on a human tongue? Or how long it takes your body to pump 3,000 gallons of blood? Or why you get goose bumps?
    The Body in Focus is very simple to use. Which key do you press to view the digestive system? Or the skeletal system? You don't have to memorize these details-a soft plastic keyboard overlay lists all the key functions.
    Another strong point of the program is its use of sound. With some software, you can often tell that sound was added as an afterthought. But with The Body in Focus, the sound is very functional. You quickly learn the different sounds for "your turn" and "that key doesn't do anything." Sounds are used intelligently for getting your attention at the right time and for signifying right and wrong responses.
    As a parent, I would recommend The Body in Focus for a youngster who is taking biology. As a teacher, I probably wouldn't use The Body in Focus as part of the curriculum because it is not sequential (some students may choose not to press "tell me more"). However, this program is exciting enough that I think students would invest their own time to travel through The Body in Focus. It would be great for enrichment.

The Body in Focus
CBS Interactive Learning
One Fawcett Place
Greenwich, CT 06836