Medical schools have started playing with Microsoft’s forthcoming HoloLens augmented reality headset to see what applications it might have in helping train a new generation of health professionals.

Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University is hoping the HoloLens technology will help students better understand the anatomy of the human body – in ways that current methods can’t achieve.

“We’ve been teaching human anatomy the same way for hundreds of years - students get a cadaver, then they look at medical illustrations and it’s completely two dimensional. And the human body isn’t,” Case Western Reserve University president Barbara Snyder said in a video case study.

Professor of radiology Mark Griswold believed the technology could “impact almost everything that we teach people.”

“I think this will improve students’ confidence in learning anatomy dramatically,” he said.

“You can imagine having a class standing around a model [augmented reality skeleton] almost like a tour group in a museum where they’re all interacting completely naturally.”

One of the students lucky enough to have used this application of HoloLens described the way it had helped him understand the anatomy of the heart.

“You can take any anatomical part and show any of it. You can move it around, make it kind of translucent so you can see through the outside, and that really helped me understand like how cardiac anatomy worked,” student Satyam Ghodasara said.

“I actually had a moment where I found the aortic valve and it was the first time I’d actually seen the aortic valve in relation to all the other anatomical structures.

“It was a way of seeing it that you couldn’t do with an actual heart.”