HudsonAlpha iCell brings your old biology textbook to life

Nov 10, 2011
Education

I vividly remember sitting in some grade-school biology classroom years ago staring at my textbook wondering why I had to know how to identify the endoplasmic reticulum on a cell. I was not enthused, and didn’t do a great job at the memorization, but I can’t help but think now that if something like HudsonAlpha […]

I vividly remember sitting in some grade-school biology classroom years ago staring at my textbook wondering why I had to know how to identify the endoplasmic reticulum on a cell. I was not enthused, and didn’t do a great job at the memorization, but I can’t help but think now that if something like HudsonAlpha iCell existed when I was a kid, I would have been a lot more interested.

HudsonAlpha iCell provides three different 3D models of cells. Users can check out models of animal, bacteria and plant cells. Each cell has specific parts labeled, so you’ll never forget the endoplasmic reticulum, or the mitochondrion, or any other crazy cell names.

Unfortunately, the appeal probably doesn’t trend much further than those early science classes. The information that is provided on each part of the cell is fairly basic. For instance the app notes that “The mitochondrion is known as the power house” of the cell, and produces energy to fuel the cell’s activities. This is not exactly the deepest thing you’ll ever read about cell anatomy.

If you can get over the rather meager amount of actual info, HudsonAlpha iCell still feels worth checking out. The 3D models look great, and they do a good job of making each specific part of the cell unique and easily identifiable.

As a standalone tool for information, the app doesn’t have much more info than you could fit on a couple of note cards, but as a supplement to the textbook your young student is already reading, it makes for a decent companion.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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