A WEB3D Application in Biomedical Engineering Education

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1 A WEB3D Application in Biomedical Engineering Education Eda Akman Aydın 1, Ali Hakan Işık 2, Aydın Çetin 1, İnan Güler Gazi University, Institute of Information Sciences, Key words: Biomedical Engineering, E-learning, Web3D technology Abstract: Biomedical engineering (BME) which includes intense biological, medical and engineering information and applications is a highly interdisciplinary and rapidly evolving field. Web3D is a technology used to create interactive 3D graphics and animations, usually for use on the internet. Web3D presents solutions to solve the lack of pedagogical materials on biomedical instrumentation providing the biomedical specialists with 3D animations and interactive materials. This paper introduces the educational use of Web3D technologies in Biomedical Engineering. 1 Introduction BME is a relatively new and highly multidisciplinary field of engineering. BME brings together knowledge from many different sources, like medicine, engineering, technology and basic sciences. Due to its versatility and innovativeness, BME requires special learning and teaching methods [1]. Because it is not possible to provide a full access to certain special workplaces and surgeries, multimedia education aids are being continually created and they extend theoretical educational texts by practical demonstrational illustrations of handling medical devices, some special medical device checkouts and medical intercessions, all focused on used medical techniques [2]. Instrumentation is an inseparable part in biomedical engineering. Electronics is nearly obligatory part in nowadays biomedical instrumentation devices. So, it is natural that all the specialists in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) field should have certain imagination about the electronics used in biomedical devices. On the other hand, the electronics engineers who want to become professionally active in the field of BME should also have appropriate knowledge about the specifics of instrumentation electronics [3]. There are some difficulties on BME Education. BME is very technical discipline and for this reason the transfer from contact teaching into e-teaching is not as simple as providing text files or online books for students but needs variety of tools for student to support their studying. Lecture material, supporting study material, online quizzes and exercises, peer communication, and online tutoring have now been implemented into the education. Especially the combination of lecture material and activation of the student during the study process have been carefully considered [4]. ICL 2010 Proceedings Page 190

2 Due to multidisciplinary nature, the education period of biomedical engineering is quite long, cost is too much and troublesome. To overcome these difficulties independent of time and location, low cost, easy accessible educational materials environments are needed to be prepared. Education that is supported by visual materials and interactivity is quite important to improve persistence of learning not only in formal engineering education but also in inservice training of engineers and technicians. In this study, innovative and interactive approaches are recommended for Biomedical Instrumentation to cover these needs. This approach presents virtual curriculum in internet for the students in Biomedical Engineering discipline. Unlike other applications, this approach uses 3D virtual materials to make understanding of these complex devices easier through advanced user interaction. Thus, persistence of learning using advanced web technologies to deal with difficult and complex understanding of concepts can be performed. In this way, the prepared course can be used as an educational tool not only by the students in formal education, but also by Biomedical Engineers, Biomedical Equipment Technicians, and Medical Device Technology Teachers who want to improve their knowledge and qualifiedness in in-service training as achieved and described in [5]. Furthermore, this new technology and educational tool can be implemented to instruct how to use and how to make maintenance and refurbishment of the biomedical equipments. 2 Web3D Technologies in E-Learning Web-based knowledge transfer is becoming a field of research which deserves the attention of the research community, regardless of their domain of expertise, especially because of the potential of advanced technologies such as Web 3D. In the context of globalised communication, these technologies are becoming more stimulating through the possibility of creating collaborative spaces for simulation and training [6]. Virtual environments (VEs) offer the possibility to recreate the real world as it is or to create completely new worlds, providing experiences that can help people in understanding concepts as well as learning to perform specific tasks, where the task can be repeated as often as required and in a safe environment. A considerable problem is that developing and delivering educational virtual environments with traditional VR technologies can be very expensive (e.g., due to the cost of special VR hardware), and the developed applications are not accessible to many learners. An emerging solution is provided by Web3D open standards that allow the delivery of interactive VEs through the Internet, reaching potentially large numbers of learners worldwide, at any time. Web3D open standards allow the delivery of interactive 3D virtual learning environments through the Internet, reaching potentially large numbers of learners worldwide, at any time. Web3D technologies can be independent from the platform and require only a standard PC and a plug-in for a Web browser [7]. The flexibility and portability of Web3D technologies allow using them in building educational VEs for formal education, informal education, distance or electronic learning, vocational training and special needs education. Educational uses of Web3D technologies present a number of advantages with respect to traditional learning practices. In general, this approach can provide a wide range of experiences, some of which are impossible to try in the real world because of distance, cost, danger or impracticability. An important advantage is related with using three dimensional graphics, which allows for more realistic and detailed representations of topics, offering more viewpoints and more inspection possibilities compared to 2D representations. Another advantage is the possibility of analyzing the same ICL 2010 Proceedings Page 191

3 subject or phenomenon from different point of views. This way, users can gain a deeper understanding of the subject and create more complete and correct mental models to represent [6,7]. 3 Application of Web3D in Biomedical Engineering Education 3D models of devices and applications are designed by Auto Desk 3ds Max 2008 program and interactivity and visuality are given by View Point Enliven program. In that way the models could be rotated at desired direction and angle, size of model could be enlarged or reduced, desired part of model could be moved by user. By using buttons on the devices user could apply the devices as they were the real devices. The 3D models include rotate, zoom, section-view, measurement and an associate comment log [6]. In this study, Web3D technologies are implemented on Biomedical Instrumentation that is an inseparable subject in biomedical engineering. The Biomedical Instrumentation course consists of two sections and totally eighteen units. Hereafter some examples contained in the courses are seen. Defibrillator device and its application on a patient are seen on the Figure 1. With this application, students can learn working principle of defibrillator; make energy level selection, place the defibrillator paddles to correct points on patient, observe the patient s heart rhythms before and after using defibrillator. Other 3D simulations are seen on the Figure 2.a and b. (a) (b) Figure 1. Two animation screenshots from (a) intensive care unit with defibrillator and (b) placement of paddles [5] (a) (b) Figure 2 (a) Appearance of brain (b) Placement of EEG electrodes ICL 2010 Proceedings Page 192

4 Figure 2.a is a screen shot from interactive 3D model of brain that describes structure and functions of brain sections. With this application the user can examine the brain from all directions, can point the part of the brain and get its name and function. Figure 2.b is is a screenshot from the 3D model of EEG showing placement of electrodes to measure EEG signals. With this interactive model, the user can learn how and where to place EEG electrodes with correct positions on the patients head and learn measurement methods and principles of EEG. 4 Conclusion In this study an educational application of Web3D technologies on Biomedical Engineering is presented. This new approach offers more dynamic, interactive and innovative learning platform independent of time and location. Using interactive 3D educational materials on internet makes e-learning activities more attractive and increases the persistence of learning. It is expected from the e-learning platforms based on Web3D technologies to be more efficient than classical e-learning platforms. This e-learning platform could be used for education of biomedical engineers, teachers and technicians. This new approach can also be used to create interactive user e-manuals of medical equipments and devices. Web3D applications are also efficient in terms of cost. Once an application is produced then it can be used over and over by anyone. Web 3D materials of this study are used in an international e-learning platform in the frame of the Leonardo da Vinci educational program. The project consists of interactive 3D and 2D simulations used in Biomedical Engineering Education. This new approach can be adapted to other complicated and recondite subjects thus the technology can be disseminated to the other areas. Acknowledgment The WEBD project has been funded with support from the European Commission under the grant TR1-LEO This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission or the National Agency cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. References: [1] Kybartaite A., Nousiainen J., Lindroos K., Malmivuo J., Biomedical Engineering and Virtual Education. 11th Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biomedical Engineering and Computing, [2] Hájovský, R.,2008. Multimedia support of education Biomedical Engineering. 7th Computer Information Systems and Industrial Management Applications. Ostrava, Czech Republic pp [3] Parve, T., Gordon, R., Min, M., Development of the Biomedical Electronics Course for e- Learning. IFMBE Proceedings Vol. 20. pp [4] Lindroos, K., Malmivuo, J., Nousiainen, J., Web-based Supporting Material for Biomedical Engineering Education. 11th Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biomedical Engineering and Computing, Slovenia, 2007, [5] Çetin, A. 3D Web Based Learning of Medical Equipments Employedin Intensive Care Units, Journal of Medical Systems, DOI /s , 2010 [6] Moos, S., Tornincasa, S., Vezzetti, E., Violante, M., Bonisoli, E., The Impact of WEB3D Solutions for Product Development E-Learning. 13th International Research/Expert Conference Trends in the Development of Machinery and Associated Technology. Hammamet, Tunisia. [7] Chittaro L. Et al., Web3D technologies in learning, education and training: Motivations, issues, opportunities. Computers and Education, Vol.49, No. 1, pp 3-18 ICL 2010 Proceedings Page 193

5 Author(s): Eda, Akman Aydın, M.Sc. Ali Hakan, Işık, M.Sc. Gazi University, Institute of Information Sciences Aydın, Çetin, Ph.D. İnan, Güler, Prof. Dr. ICL 2010 Proceedings Page 194

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