Transforming clinical imaging and 3D data for virtual reality learning objects: HTML5 and mobile devices implementation


  • Robert B. Trelease,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, Center for the Health Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
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  • Gary L. Nieder

    1. Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Physiology, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio
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Correspondence to: Dr. Robert B. Trelease, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA. E-mail:


Web deployable anatomical simulations or “virtual reality learning objects” can easily be produced with QuickTime VR software, but their use for online and mobile learning is being limited by the declining support for web browser plug-ins for personal computers and unavailability on popular mobile devices like Apple iPad and Android tablets. This article describes complementary methods for creating comparable, multiplatform VR learning objects in the new HTML5 standard format, circumventing platform-specific limitations imposed by the QuickTime VR multimedia file format. Multiple types or “dimensions” of anatomical information can be embedded in such learning objects, supporting different kinds of online learning applications, including interactive atlases, examination questions, and complex, multi-structure presentations. Such HTML5 VR learning objects are usable on new mobile devices that do not support QuickTime VR, as well as on personal computers. Furthermore, HTML5 VR learning objects can be embedded in “ebook” document files, supporting the development of new types of electronic textbooks on mobile devices that are increasingly popular and self-adopted for mobile learning. Anat Sci Educ 6: 263–270. © 2012 American Association of Anatomists.