Avatars of Animals: 3D interactive holographic models.

Bo van Leeuwen*, Anna Dollé, Beerend Hierck, Daniela Salvatori

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


To date, the education and training of veterinarians, human doctors
and researchers is still largely based on the use of live animals.
Only in the Netherlands, yearly more than 22,000 animals
are used for training and research.
Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) offer unlimited
and standardized specimens for dissection. Introduction of
this new technology aims to decrease the number of animal and
human specimens used for teaching and training.
By substituting animals and humans with dynamic holographic
3D models (Avatar models), we aim to study and acquire anatomic,
physiologic, pathologic knowledge of specific systems
in a comparative way, while not being restrained by ethical concerns
and huge costs. We will study anatomical phenotypes, diseases
and mimic operations without being restricted by time or
The student/researcher will manipulate 3-dimensional anatomical
structures up close, from all angles. In addition, dynamic
exploration will be supplemented with rich and immediate automated
feedback further boosting applicable knowledge, retention,
and motivation. The doctor of the future will be equipped with the knowledge necessary for every day clinical practice,
while specialists will improve surgical skills and researchers will
be able to deepen and share their knowledge even further. Our
3D-avatar learning concepts are based on grounded educational
theories and stimulate active and embodied learning.
We present a working example of a 3-dimensional avatar rat,
using Microsoft HoloLens for vivid holographic projection. The
student is able to view the avatar from different angles and to
show/hide anatomical structures (e.g., bones, muscles, organs,
nerves) in an interactive way, using intuitive gestures and voice
control. We aim to implement this model within the Dutch Laboratory
Animal Science course programs as a replacement to rodent
anatomy dissection sessions. Importantly we will investigate
how effective the developed tools are in order to reach assigned
learning goals.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event11th world congres on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences: 3Rs in transition - Virtual, Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Aug 20212 Nov 2021
Conference number: 11


Conference11th world congres on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
Abbreviated titleWC11
Internet address


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