Lifesize game of Operation being used in anatomy classrooms

- A new machine allows students to navigate through the human body without being reliant on cadaver donations.

You could call it an 8-foot-long version of the childhood favorite, Operation, but the fully-interactive interface is much more than a game.

The images are of actual human parts that make up a whole body. Real cadavers were used to create the software running the machine.

It's a one-of-a-kind learning experience for the students at Manatee Technical College.

Students gain direct access to a person's brain. The head once belonged to a living man. The table - called the Anatomage - gives them a firsthand look into the virtual anatomy of a cadaver.

The machine costs about $80,000. Manatee Tech received the money from the state based on its students’ success and accomplishments.

The machine comes loaded with four cadavers. Manatee Technical College EMS Director Jay Bush says it's a one of a kind tool that draws students in.

"You can start off with the actual whole body itself. You can isolate certain organ systems, certain organs," explained Bush. “The machine also comes preloaded with 2,000 MRIs and CT Scans. It allows students to peel back the layers and really get down to the problem. With this one, it's a fractured tibia."

With a tap, ribs can be taken off and the human heart exposed for further analysis.

"It's the closest thing to hands-on,” student Lucas Gehrke said. "It's not every day you can pick apart individuals or specific body parts or circulatory systems and actually see everything."

Gehrke says it's much different than a textbook approach.

With only 16 machines like it in the state of Florida, Manatee Technical College officials hope it will help train their students for any situation they deal with on the job.

“It helps us understand how different things work. Cardiovascular, musculature, respiratory, it aids us to know where things are, what we should be looking for, what we should find," Gehrke said.

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