3D Ear

This site is a tutorial, which employs both 2D diagrams and 3D interactive models, to teach the anatomy of the middle and inner ear. The goal of this tutorial is to provide the student with a mental map, in 3D, of the structures that compose the middle and inner ear. Hopefully, after completing the tutorial, the student will better understand the 3D nature of ear structures as well as the spatial relationships among the various components of the middle and inner ear.

The 3D models used on this site are based on magnetic resonance images of a human cadaver ear. All 2D diagrams included on this site are based on the 3D models.

The site was developed at McGill University by W. Robert J. Funnell, PhD; Sam Daniel, MD, CM; and Daren Nicholson, MD, CM. The site is maintained by Dr. Nicholson.

The models in this tutorial were derived from MRI data of a human cadaver obtained from Drs. O.W. Henson, Jr. and Miriam Henson (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.) You can visit their website to download the MRI scans. Click on the link for "primates" datasets and then select scan S16885. The scans were conducted at Duke University's Center for In Vivo Microscopy.

Using the VRML (3D) Models

The 3D models included on this website are VRML (virtual reality modeling language) files. VRML is the standard file type for displaying 3D images. To view these files, you must have a VRML viewer. There are several free viewer software programs. Here are links to a few of them:

The basic tools included with most VRML viewers include:

*Usually viewers give you at least 2 options of how to turn/rotate the model. For example, in Cosmo Player, one option locks the model in one axis plane with freedom to move about the axes of the other two planes (this is called "Standard Examiner" mode). By choosing "Virtual Trackball" in Cosmo Player, the model can be moved freely about all three axes.


Cosmo Player