Roanoke, VA. -

It looks like a huge iPad but unlike a smart tablet this is not for surfing the web.  It's a new high tech tool at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

This large piece of equipment is called the Anatomage table.  It's giving medical school students a new way of learning.   The top of the table is a large rectangular screen.  A computer generated image helps students learn all about the human body.

With the touch of the screen students can look at  3D images from several different angles.   Students can zero in on some parts of the body individually or look at all of the organs at once. 

Don't be mistaken though this won't replace textbooks.

"With this you can say I want to look at the blood vessels nerves and musculature at the same time," said Mohsan Chaudry, a first year medical student from Maryland. "And see exactly which nerves are going and integrating which muscles exactly which blood vessels are going where."

"One thing I like about it is that  you can zoom through the body where as in a text book you just look at a few sections," said Kendall Hancock, a first year medical student from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The table also has scans from an actual male cadaver which give students a more realistic view.  To see how it really works you have to try it out.  As a reporter I did.

I used my index finger to touch a scalpel icon on the table. That allowed me to make a cut across the body.  Then I touched my finger below the cut and moved it which rotated the image. This allowed me to see a cross section of the patient's body at the point where I made the cut.  

Professors can also take real CT scans from cases at the hospital to show students on the table.

"What is really key to the table, the ability to take our cases in our case based curriculum and actually embed them into the Anatomoge table," said Dr. Cynda Johnson, the Founding Dean of  VTC Medical School.

Students in this class have looked at images of a gun shot wound to the head and have seen how cancer appears in the body.

"This could be any kind of a cancer for example and you would find that cancer because what happens is the real original CT scan is is actually embedded in the software in the Anatomage table," said Dr.  Johnson.

The bottom line this cool high tech table is doing just what it's supposed to.

"I think it'll definitely help me to learn," Chaudry said.