How much do you know about anatomy? Cardiology? Have you ever set foot in a scientific lab? Once you visit BioInteractive’s virtual lab, you’ll feel as if you have.
The website is offered by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a nonprofit organization that funds biomedical research. It features free virtual labs for anatomy, bacterial identification, immunology, neurophysiology and cardiology.
The concept is simple: You tool around virtual, web-based spaces as if you were a scientist. And you learn in the process. It’s designed to help users practice the skills and techniques of scientific research.
The screen is divided into two areas: on the left, the lab itself; on the right, your lab notebook. You’ll be cast in a role — as a medical student, for example, or the manager of a clinical lab — and given tasks to complete.
Once you’ve read about your mission, you can enter the “lab” and look around. Clicking on objects and doors gives you the chance to learn and practice skills.
In the cardiology lab, for example, you’ll learn about heart conditions, what a stethoscope does and what a patient’s symptoms and family history can reveal about their cardiac health. Quizzes and reference materials help reinforce what you learn.
If you prefer, you can even use your phone to access the bacterial ID lab; it’s available as a free iOS app, as well as a web-based tool.
Whether you use your smartphone or laptop, the virtual labs are a fun way to study — or learn about — the inner workings of the human body.