MSc Medical Visualisation & Human Anatomy School of Simulation & Visualisation

Maeve Kavanagh (She/Her)

My name is Maeve Kavanagh and I am a medical artist. I strive to develop innovative ways of visualising and interacting with difficult to communicate anatomical and medical material. With a background in neuroscience and a passion for art, I felt the the MSc in Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy was the perfect opportunity to combine these interests, and hopefully encourage engagement with science. This programme has allowed me to develop a wide skillset as a medical artist such as 3D model creation and optimisation, volumetric visualisation, application design and development using C# scripting. My thesis project focussed on developing a hologram-based application for teaching young people neuroanatomy. To encourage the engagement and interest of young people, I developed an interaction paradigm utilising gesture control with the Leap Motion.

The Holographic Brain

The Holographic Brain

Worldwide, young people’s interest in STEM education declines around pre-teen and early teenage years. While the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence takes an approach aimed at engaging children with science, the scientific literacy of Scottish adolescents has seen a recent decline. Research shows that belief in one’s own scientific ability likely reinforces scientific ambition and effort, suggesting knowledge acquisition should not be neglected when encouraging scientific engagement. Educational tools harnessing 3D visualisation technologies increase engagement with science and facilitate knowledge acquisition, proving particularly beneficial for anatomy education. Hologram-based educational tools offer considerable advantages over 3D approaches such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality as they do not require a head-mounted display or handheld equipment. Additionally, their innovative nature may intrigue younger audiences and further encourage engagement.

Building upon previous research by Dr. Felicity Herrington, this project presents a hologram-based application utilising a Pepper’s Ghost Illusion to educate young people on basic neuroanatomy. Gesture control paradigms via the Leap Motion Controller allowed users to learn about the structure and function of the brain and partake in a quiz. The Window on World effect was implemented to enhance the 3D appearance of the brain in the main interaction scenes.

User-testing results illustrate that hologram-based applications can engage young people with anatomy education while facilitating considerable knowledge acquisition. Applications of the kind developed in this project represent a means of engaging young people with STEM education, in a manner potentially capable of combatting the declining interest in STEM.