VR Anatomy Atlas

A virtual reality software for teaching human anatomy. Developed at the Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality Research Lab (CGVR), University of Bremen, in cooperation with the Pius-Hospital Oldenburg.



The Immersive Anatomy Atlas transports users into a realistic virtual operating room that contains an anatomical model, instruments and useful tools. With the help of virtual hands, 360 organs can be easily grasped to study them more closely and to learn their Latin names. Eleven different medical instruments and tools allow many other types of interaction: For example, users can dynamically hide areas of the model to gain unique insights into human anatomy.

The software can be used both for free exploration of anatomy and for targeted teaching of medical students. The operating environment can be customized to adapt the room to the needs of users, creating the ideal environment for students or teachers. Specific scenarios, such as thyroid surgery, can be prepared by experienced users and can be opened at a later time, challenging learners or giving them an introduction to the Immersive Anatomy Atlas.

It is available in both German and English.

The Anatomical Model

Our anatomical model contains over 360 detailed organs, such as muscles, bones, nerves and the lymphatic system. Users can examine the anatomical model to understand the spatial relations between each organ, or remove the organs to see them more closely. Organs can intuitively be grasped thanks to the HTC Vive's or Oculus Rift's VR controllers, and all interactions can be performed with either (or both) hands.

The anatomical model can be dis- and re-assembled for teaching purposes. Removed organs remain stationary until they are re-inserted into the anatomical model. If the user has moved the organ approximately to its original position, then the organ is automatically moved to perfectly fit into the anatomical model.

All organs are tagged with their Latin name which is automatically shown when interacting with the organ. Users can choose to hide certain parts of the body, i.e. by showing only the skeletal system or viewing a modified version of SPL's Abdominal Atlas.

Heart being grabbed

Organs can be freely removed from the model and closely examined.


Includes an alternate view for the SPL Abdominal Atlas.

Arranged organs

Removed organs can be rearranged or reattached to the model. (Click to enlarge)

The Operating Room

The anatomical model is placed on an operating table placed in an elaborate virtual environment. The table's height and many other functions can easily be adjusted by the user, such as dimming the ceiling lights or hiding certain organs.

Users are immersed both visually and aurally. The operating room equipment constantly emits sound, and the room contains a video player. This player can be used to view real-life operations in VR in order to teach complex scenarios.

The operating room features a virtual camera which is controlled via the mouse and keyboard. This allows spectators or teachers to instruct the user in Virtual Reality. Teachers can save and load the arrangements of organs and tools to teach scenarios to different students.

Operating room

The operating environment contains an anatomical model covered with a sheet, and instrument table and other interactive objects, such as a video player. (Click to enlarge)

Virtual tablet

Using a convenient virtual tablet users can customize their environment, save and load operations and control the application. (Click to enlarge)

Tools and Instruments

The Immersive Anatomy Atlas features several ways to interact with the anatomical model. These complex interactions are facilitated through a variety of virtual tools and instruments. Users can use up to two of these tools at once (with one hand each).


Real-time cross-sections of any organ can be created using the virtual tools. (Click to enlarge)

Heart being grabbed

Organs can be freely removed from the model and closely examined. (Click to enlarge)

Square cut into sheet

Various tools simultaneously used to accomplish several tasks in the Immersive Anatomy Atlas. (Click to enlarge)


The Immersive Anatomy Atlas has been developed for the Pius-Hospital Oldenburg to aid in the teaching of medical students.


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