Dynamic Anatomy is a project by Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) that explores the possibilities of using the Microsoft HoloLens within higher (medical) education. This website aims to share the details of the experiment, display results and connect with others in the domain of mixed reality for education.

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TedX Education Award 2017

EDtech innovation team from Leiden University develops first interactive mixed reality HoloLens application for medical education to investigate anatomy with your own body movements.

A team of experts from the University of Leiden and the Leiden UMC has added a new feature to the Microsoft HoloLens, which enables the medical holograms in the app to move with the human body. This enables a real-time, three-dimensional model for students to learn from, using their own bodies as learning tools. This immersive way of learning through Mixed Reality is a game-changer in higher education, and has many more possible applications which are still being developed daily.

We invite all of you to share your ideas with the team to see how we can collaborate.

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What can be the significance of ‘mixed reality’ (a blended form of virtual reality and real-life) for (medical) education? This is the main question of our team of the Centre for Innovation/ LUMC of Leiden University who are working on an experiment using the the Microsoft HoloLens.

The Microsoft HoloLens is a type of goggles which can project holographic models on the existing environment, creating a so-called ‘augmented reality’. By projecting objects, figures or anything on reality, users can walk around and study the hologram from different angles and perspectives. One of the unique capabilities of the HoloLens is the ability for users to interact with the holograms using hand gestures and word commands.

As a first experiment the HoloLens will be used to teach (bio)medical students about the anatomy of the ankle. Within the experiment presented here, an anatomical model is displayed next to the human body. By connecting the human body movements and the virtual anatomical model, (bio)medical students can learn from their own physical movements while studying the virtual model. A crucial component for success is the embedding of the experiment in larger learning experience based on a concrete (real-life) case.

Adaptive and personalised learning

Using the HoloLens for education contributes to making education more adaptive and personalised for technical and educational reasons. In the technical sense, students can study the simulations in their personally preferred way due to the holographic 3D model projected in the room. Educationally, the HoloLens adds an affective component to the study of abstract models, by creating ownership of the students on their learning experience.

Learning effects to be studied

The experiment is a partnership between the New Media Lab at the Centre for Innovation and the department of Anatomy and Embryology (ANA) and Centre for Innovation of Medical Education at the LUMC. Dr. Beerend Hierck of the LUMC and of the Leiden Teachers Academy, will study the effects and outcomes of this type of 3D learning.

Promoting innovative teaching

The team won the Surfnet Innovation Challenge 2016/ 2017 with their plan. SURF is an ICT teaching and research collaboration in the Netherlands. Their aim of the annual Innovation Challenge is to stimulate innovation in teaching. The best proposals were each honoured 20.000 euros to realise the experiment.


The experiment will be developed from December 2016 and the results of the study will be published in June 2017.


In the news 



We are proud to announce that our Mixed Reality for education experiment is nominated for the TEDX AmsterdamEd award 2017!

Will this become the new lecture hall? Mentioning of the Hololens project in an article on educational innovation in ‘Leids Universitair Weekblad Mare’ (Dutch)


Blog by Beerend Hierck> Mixed Reality in het hoger onderwijs (Dutch)

Article about our Hololens experiment on ICT Health> LUMC experimenteert met HoloLens voor studie ondersteuning (Dutch)


Article about the presentation on Mixed Reality at CEL innovation Room> Learning in Mixed Reality with the Microsoft Hololens

Learning with augmented reality blog about CEL Innovation Room> Rijker leren met augmented reality?  (Dutch)


June 20th: Final presentation SURF Innovation Challenge (Utrecht)

Leiden University’s New Media Lab  will showcase the Hololens app & experiment for the SURF Innovation Challenge.

June 6th: Worksession on mixed reality for higher education at onderwijsconferentie (LUMC)

At this conference about blended learning, Beerend Hierck and the New Media lab will organise an interactive session on the potential of mixed reality for medical education.

May 31st: TedxAmsterdamED

At this event Beerend Hierck pitches the concept of immersive learning with mixed reality for education.

April 24th: Presentation & demo at symposium MFLS (LUMC)

On a symposium about Artificial Intelligence, organised by MFLS, Beerend Hierck together with the New Media Lab, will give a talk about the potential of augmented reality for higher education.

April 3rd: OMHE 2017 (TU Delft) 

At the Online Media Higher Education conference at TU Delft, Thomas Hurkxkens is giving a presentation about the potential of Virtual and Augmented Reality for education, among our Hololens experiment will be one of the showcases. The OMHE (Online Media Higher Education) events are organised by three Dutch Universities: Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

March 27th: Hololens workshop at VCMS symposium (Erasmus MC Rotterdam)

At this symposium for medical students Beerend Hierck and Leontine van Melle are presenting the potential of Mixed Reality for medical education. During an interactive workshop, students are challenged to think about potential cases for their own learning domains and try out the Hololens app from Leiden University.

March 16th: Hololens for education presentation & demo at LX2017
On March 16, Leiden University will be hosting  and co-organizing the second annual Learning Experience Design conference 2017. Learning Experience Design can help shape the future of education by connecting the worlds of design and learning. It’s a combination of the creative and disruptive talents of designers with the passion and expertise of educators aimed to design better learning experiences. At the conference, Beerend Hierck will show the possibilities of using the HoloLens when designing learning experiences.
February 24th: CEL Innovation Room #8: Augmented Reality in Higher education
How can Virtual Reality help shape the future of education? Beerend Hierck and Thomas Hurkxkens will be talking about the the significance of ‘mixed for medical teaching.
During this night at Pakhuis de Zwijger, the notion of virtual empathy will be discussed. Can virtual reality and augmented reality contribute to creating more empathy? Leiden University will be present to talk about their experiences with the HoloLens.

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We’d love to hear your ideas! Contact us by emailing XRcommunity@sea.leidenuniv.nl