XR anatomy

The EDUCAUSE XR (Extended Reality) Community Group Listserv <XR@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>

Greetings to you all! Presently, I am undertaking a masters course in “Instruction Design and Technology” which has two components: Coursework and Research. For my research, I would like to pursue it in the field of Augmented Reality (AR) and Mobile Learning. I am thinking of an idea that could lead to collaboration among students and directly translate into enhanced learning for students while using an AR application. However, I am having a problem with coming up with an application because I don’t have any computing background. This, in turn, is affecting my ability to come up with a good research topic.

I teach gross anatomy and histology to many students of health sciences at Mbarara University, and this is where I feel I could make a contribution to learning anatomy using AR since almost all students own smartphones. I, therefore, kindly request you to let me know which of the freely-available AR app authoring tools could help me in this regard. In addition, I request for your suggestions regarding which research area(s) I should pursue in order to come up with a good research topic.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Grace Muwanga Department of Anatomy Mbarara University Uganda (East Africa)



Dear Grace, a few augmented reality tools which I’ve found are relatively easy to get started with:

For iOS, iPhone, iPad: https://www.torch.app/ or https://www.adobe.com/products/aero.html

To create AR that will work on social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat (and will work on Android, iOS) try https://sparkar.facebook.com/ar-studio/ or https://lensstudio.snapchat.com/ . You’ll want to look at the tutorials for plane tracking or target tracking https://sparkar.facebook.com/ar-studio/learn/documentation/tracking-people-and-places/effects-in-surroundings/


One limitation with Spark and Snap is that file sizes need to be small.

If you’re interested in creating AR experiences that work directly in a web browser and are up for writing some markup code, look at A-Frame AR https://aframe.io/blog/webxr-ar-module/.

For finding and hosting 3D models you can look at Sketchfab and Google Poly. I think both have many examples of anatomy.

Best, Matt


“Beth L. Ritter-Guth” <britter-guth@NORTHAMPTON.EDU>

I’ve been using Roar. They have a 99$ a year license.


I have recently been experimenting with an AR development tool called Zappar, which I like because the end users do not have to download an app to view the AR content. Codes can be scanned either with the Zappar app or at web.zappar.com.

From a development standpoint, Zappar has an easy to use drag-and-drop interface called ZapWorks Designer that will help you build basic AR experiences quickly, but for a more complicated, more interactive use case such as learning anatomy, you will probably need ZapWorks Studio, which will have much more of a learning curve. The Hobby (non-commercial) license is free if you are interested in trying it out.

You can check out an AR anatomy mini-lesson with models of the human brain, liver, and heart using ZapWorks here: https://www.zappar.com/campaigns/secrets-human-body/. Even if you choose to go with a different development tool, this example might help nail down ideas for your own project.

Hope this helps,


Brighten Jelke Academic Assistant for Virtual Technology Lake Forest College bjelke@lakeforest.edu Office: DO 233 | Phone: 847-735-5168


more on XR in education in this IMS blog

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