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How PowerPoint’s New 3D Animation Could Save Lives

By January 11, 2018 No Comments

From the medical papyri of Ancient Egypt to the flat textbooks of today, medical teachers have used anatomical diagrams to teach students the science of saving lives. In the 21st century, complicated 3D imaging can give medical students the most accurate understanding of our bodies and how to treat them. Unfortunately, virtual 3D models of our anatomy can be difficult for medical teachers to access. Complicated 3D CAD programs can be expensive, and are unintuitive for lectures and other presentations.

Thankfully, PowerPoint’s new 3D Animation feature makes it easy to incorporate interactive 3D models into the world’s most popular presentation software. By making it easy and intuitive to present 3D models of our anatomy, this new feature has the potential to advance medicinal research and save lives.

Imagine a Professor of Cardiology wishes to teach her students how to treat heart disease. These diseases are the number one cause of death globally, so she needs to teach them well. Normally she would be forced to make them buy expensive two dimensional textbooks, or make do with a few physical models. Instead, she decides to use 3D Animation in PowerPoint to teach her students about the inner-workings of the heart. She downloads an accurate 3D model of a human heart from the web, then inserts the file into a new PowerPoint.

Using PowerPoint’s simple 3D animation tools, she makes a presentation that rotates her heart model and highlights its major structures. Then she decides to focus on the internal structure of an artery. With just a few clicks, her presentation zooms inside an artery and shows information on its structure. Now that she’s in an artery, she decides to show the movement of red blood cells within it. She selects a flat, red sphere from PowerPoint’s inbuilt menu of 3D shapes, then uses another easy animation option to show it moving through the artery. The professor shows the presentation to her students, who understand the heart far better now that they’ve seen it presented so simply in 3D.

At the end of the academic year, the professor is invited to a conference on heart disease to present her research into an experimental drug to lower cholesterol. She thinks her new drug could save lives with more funding, but she has had difficulty explaining how it works. Building on the success of her 3D presentation, she uses simple 3D animation in PowerPoint to show how her drug removes cholesterol. Her 3D demonstration amazes the representatives of a pharmaceutical company, who offer her funding to develop the life-saving drug.

Beyond medicine, every discipline and industry could benefit from PowerPoint’s new 3D Animation feature. Architects could walk clients through 3D models of new buildings. Tech developers could show investors simple 3D models of new gadgets. While this was once only possible with expensive 3D animation software, PowerPoint now puts the power of 3D animation in everybody’s hands. After all, it’s 3D animation, not heart surgery.


Tom Howell

About Tom Howell

For the past decade, Tom has been designing innovative, persuasive presentations. As the founder and creative lead of Synapsis Creative, Tom develops solutions that offer clients beautiful, professional graphic design that is delivered in usable, editable PowerPoint documents. From big screen presentations to iPad interactives, animations to printed presentations and reports, Tom works at the cutting edge of presentation design. Tom regularly writes on presentation design on his blog and provides free resources for other Presentation Designers.