So I came across a rather interesting company on the interwebs that does these phenomenal medical models that are completely rendered out of glass. Farlow’s Scientific Glassblowing Inc. is a company based in California who feel very strongly that a learning tool can also be beautiful. I have taken numerous biology and anatomy courses and have never come across a model that could be classified as art.
Here we have a company that takes the artery system of the brain and creates a meticulous representation utilizing transparent glass tubes to depict the flow path that the blood takes. The best part about this piece is that it is not just aesthetic but a fully functional model as well, so you can actually see the blood flow through the system. Another model that really blew my mind (no pun intended) was the aneurysm model which shows the swollen area that happens in the artery by having a bubbled area in the glass tube in which blood will pool. In addition to these models are ones for the heart, lungs, sinus, and other body systems.
However the most impressive model by far is the full size demonstrator system that they have cheekily nicknamed “Mrs. Einstein”. This model has all the major arteries in the body represented and have them connected properly to the four chambers of the heart, so that this model also allows for functional use. What is so wonderful about these pieces is that you can clearly see how everything works. Traditionally most classes use animals to dissect, but even with the injected dyes it is really difficult to see what is going on without constant aid of a book.
This really reminds me of the "Body Works" exhibit where they take actual bodies donated to science, and pose them so you can see how your body actually performs. I would love to even see a collaboration or a similar exhibition. This company is providing people a really beautiful way to learn and proving that learning doesn't have to be uninteresting. I really hope to see more of these around especially since I haven’t gotten to chance to play with one myself.