BREAKING RESEARCH

Virtual Frog Dissection

V-Frog, the first virtual-reality-based frog-dissection software, allows biology students to perform dissections on their computers.

V-Frog, the world’s first virtual-reality-based frog-dissection software designed for biology education—allowing not mere observation, but physically simulated dissection—has been developed and is being marketed by Tactus Technologies, a spin-off of the UB Virtual Reality Laboratory.

V-Frog, which operates on a personal computer using a standard mouse, simulates nearly unlimited manipulation of specimen tissue. As a result, every dissection is different, reflecting each student’s individual work. The software is designed for grades 7 through 12, plus advanced placement biology students.

Using a simple mouse and PC, students can “pick up” a scalpel, cut open V-Frog’s skin, and explore the internal organs—with true real-time interaction and 3-D navigation that actually accommodates discovery and procedures not possible with a physical frog specimen.

“You can go through the entire alimentary canal, using the endoscopic function—something you could never do with a real frog,” says Kevin P. Chugh, PhD ’01, MS ’98 & BS ’92, president and chief scientist at Tactus Technologies. “Likewise, with our V-Frog, you can explore nerves and blood vessels, and look closely at how the brain is wired. Students would never get the opportunity to see and work with these things this way with a real frog.”

Lifelike V-Frog, which was in development for three years, uniquely allows for comparative anatomy, letting students make parallels and contrasts between the amphibian’s physiology and that of a human being, crab and other organisms. In addition, it allows students to watch a beating heart, observe digestion, dissect, probe and perform endoscopic procedures.