Google Launches WebGL-based 'Body Browser'

Thursday Google launched an interesting tool called the "Google Body Browser," a detailed 3D representation of the human body that can be manipulated and examined within a WebGL-enabled web browser like Google's latest Chrome beta, v9.0.597.19.

"WebGL is a 3D graphics API for JavaScript that developers can use to create fully 3D web apps," Google said. "It is based on the OpenGL ES 2.0 API, which should be familiar to many 3D graphics developers. Google, Mozilla, Apple, Opera and graphics hardware vendors have been working together to standardize WebGL for over a year now, and since the spec is just about final at this point, we wanted to get our implementation out there for feedback."

After pulling up the Google Body Browser page, viewers are presented with a female model. On the left-hand side resides a button to quick-turn the model left and right, pan up and down, and center the 3D model within the browser window. There are also two buttons for zooming in and out, and a toolbar featuring six icons: body level at the very top, muscle level, bone level, stomach level, heart level and brain level at the bottom. The toolbar also offers two options of "peeling back" layers: fading all levels in and out by sliding the bar up and down, or by dimming levels individually by sliding six bars left to right, one for each level. There's also a toggle sitting at the bottom of the toolbar that turns labels on and off.

The female model itself can be rotated in all directions by left-clicking near her body and dragging the mouse left, right, up and down-- moving the mouse up and down in the surrounding white space pans the camera in those directions. Users can then dim the levels either individually or as a whole, revealing every aspect of the female human anatomy without becoming virtual soft porn. There's also a search box located at the top right, allowing users to seek out specific organs such as the aorta, ovaries and so on.

To see Google's new anatomy explorer, be sure to load up a browser with WebGL support and then head here.