HKUMed Enhances Virtual Reality Offering to Enrich Anatomy Education
HKUMed’s Medical Library received an upgrade in February with the opening of a Technology-Enriched Learning Mezzanine (Techmezz) giving students access to the latest virtual reality tools to advance their understanding of anatomy.
The open learning space houses two Anatomage Tables — 3D anatomy and virtual dissection systems designed for anatomy education — alongside 32 virtual reality stations and the latest interactive whiteboards.
“I often boasted to my non-medic friends about how exciting it was to learn about anatomy in the dissecting room,” said Professor CS Lau, Dean of Medicine, at the opening ceremony, referring to his own university days. “Nowadays within HKUMed, we feel very proud to maintain dissection in teaching anatomy”
However, traditional anatomy teaching offers limited options to revisit the dissection outside the classroom, which is where technology plays a vital role, Professor Lau explained.
“With advanced technology we are now able to open up the artificial cadaver then close it up again, we can do it repeatedly, visit and revisit the anatomy session to ensure our students learn what they are supposed to learn,” he added.
HKUMed trains students in anatomy through the use of human cadavers, known as Great Body Teachers. In recent years, this teaching has increasingly been complemented by tools that harness virtual reality and augmented reality to give students a deeper understanding of the human body.
The tools available in the Techmezz allow students to visualise structures in the body and understand physiological functions in three dimensions, as well as how to perform clinical procedures in an immersive environment.
In 2002, the Yu Chun Keung Charitable Trust supported the opening of The Yu Chun Keung Medical Library at HKUMed. The Yu family returned this month to witness the library’s evolution with the addition of the Techmezz.
“My family are very happy that the HKU Medical Faculty is committed to providing the best medical education and using the best tools to achieve that,” said Dr Alan Yu, grandson of Yu Chun Keung. “It’s exciting to think that new generations of students will be able to learn and excel here, and apply their training to impact lives far and wide.”
Dr George Tipoe, Assistant Dean (Enrichment Year), who helped bring the project to fruition, said the space is designed for both individual and group teaching.
“We intend to inspire and motivate our students’ curiosity to learn through the use of cutting-edge medical technology in order to be future-ready. In the long run, we also intend to promote deep learning and long-term retention of medical science knowledge, ” he added.
Ernest Yip, a first-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery student, said he looks forward to using the Anatomage Tables to enhance his overall knowledge of anatomy.
“It’s nice that we can have extra time to dig deeper or to delve into specific aspects of the anatomical structures,” he said. “This new [area] provides this opportunity for us to come in whenever we’re free to dig deeper into some of the interesting facets of [anatomy].
The mezzanine is part of ambitious plans to expand the Faculty’s facilities to accommodate larger numbers of students.