The days of lugging home a backpack full of anatomy textbooks are over if LlamaZOO Interactive has anything to say about it.
Founded by Charles Lavigne and Kevin Oke in 2014, the company, based in Victoria, is working towards changing how veterinary students learn through a unique tool called EasyAnatomy.
By using MRI and CT scan information, the EasyAnatomy software is able to create detailed 3D models of animal anatomy that can be accessed through a mobile or desktop application. These highly accurate models can then be used to teach veterinary students about the construction and make-up of animal bodies, how they function, and the spatial relation of organs.
The tool combines the latest in mobile technology, 3D rendering, cognitive learning, and usability design. It also adds components of gamification to enhance the learning experience and encourage students to stay focused and engaged. The edtech software has been developed for post-secondary institutions in particular.
Besides no longer requiring students to dissect animals in order to learn how their bodies work, the technology offers a number of practical benefits as well. Students are able to access the cloud-based platform from any modern device, keep comprehensive notes directly within the tool, and complete quizzes published by professors.
LlamaZOO collaborates with leading institutions and experts in the veterinary field, ensuring that the EasyAnatomy software and models are being updated so that students access the latest, most accurate information. By providing a digital mobile lab that includes spatial 3D layers, customizable study tools, clinical examples and quizzes, and social features that allow users to work together with peers and professors, EasyAnatomy gives veterinary students a revolutionary way of learning.
The platform also provides professors with insightful analytics, helping them to better understand how their students are progressing. In addition, professors are able to create narrated interactive virtual tours of the 3D anatomical models. Students can then use these tours as informative study aids, taking an interactive narrated guide through the entire circulatory system or musculature of a limb. This real-time learning tool can be an effective alternative to outdated versions of heavy textbooks.
EasyAnatomy is the first stand-alone product developed by LlamaZOO, but the company also offers other 3D and interactive solutions for their clients. Both co-founders have an extensive background in the world of game development, as well as experience with mobile applications and web, print, and digital design.
After being named VIATEC’s 2015 Startup of the Year and receiving $50,000 as a 2015 recipient of the Spin Master Innovation Fund, LlamaZOO has recently just raised another $500,000 in private equity funding. This investment will go towards hiring additional staff members, acquiring new imagery, and working with over 700 students and design partners to continue improving the EasyAnatomy platform.
LlamaZOO is currently also exploring the use of virtual reality and augmented reality through other platforms such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Facebook’s Oculus. With this additional technology, the company could enable future generations of medical students to perform their first practice surgery in a virtual setting with a digital cadaver and scalpel, under the direction and guidance of professors and peers.
EasyAnatomy focuses on the veterinary industry because the industry as a whole is behind other medical fields when it comes to the technology and solutions available. After surveying students and institutions, the LlamaZOO team found that 53% of respondents said they weren’t satisfied with the materials and resources available to them. With over 500 institutions around the world teaching veterinary medicine, the need for better tools is there.
Over 40% of those institutions teach in English and the LlamaZOO team plans to make the EasyAnatomy software available in the top 5 languages in order to benefit as many students as possible. A modern, digital approach to education can help increase student engagement and offers numerous benefits to both university students and faculty members in terms of practicality, resources, and active learning.
LlamaZOO’s ultimate goal is to provide an interactive visual information-sharing platform that can be used in any field of study. The company plans to use their new round of funding to further develop this vision.