Halloween may be a few days away, but students at the University of West Florida have been taking advantage of an opportunity some people may call spooky.
Synthetic cadavers have been purchased by the university, used by students in the College of Health to get a real hands-on experience with many benefits a traditional cadaver may not have.
In a lab at the University of West Florida, some students are getting ready to get their hands on a synthetic cadaver.
“If you guys want to go ahead and pull back those abdominal muscles,” Doctor Eric Greska began, talking to his students. “Go ahead and work your way down into the internal organs and go ahead and just play around in there.”
Made from water, fibers, and salt, these Syndavers look and feel very real, which is perfect for undergrad students hoping to get ahead in their education.
“To be able to touch this stuff and see where the nerves and the arteries and the veins run and where the muscles lay… it’s a different,” said Courtney Kitchens, a senior at UWF said. “It’s a lot different, it’s a very helpful learning experience.”
With the right protection inside the lab, the cadavers could really last forever, making it easy for students and teachers to share this experience with many others in the future. Because these cadavers are fake, there’s less of an emphasis on privacy.
“Students nowadays… iPhones, smartphones, wanting to snap chat everything… Honestly, it kind of adds to the experience if a student kind of has that ability to kind of sit there and say, ‘Hey look where I’m at, I’m actually in the cadaver lab,'” Dr. Greska said.
It’s not only an educational tool, but a recruiting tool. Older students are already seeing the changes in their peers.
“Incoming younger people that haven’t had the chance to touch things like this, it really spikes their interest in this kind of stuff,” Kitchen said. “They actually get to touch and feel and see inside the body and these are very real.”
The Syndavers arrive with a clean bill of health, but professors can order different parts, like smoker’s lungs or a bad heart, to switch out for student experience.
These Syndavers cost $60,000 a piece to purchase. Money for the three at UWF came from a grant from the school’s surplus fund.