Renaissance. The word conjures up images of painters, sculptors, scientists, builders, writers, politicians all working side-by-side with one area bleeding into the next. While the word renaissance literally means rebirth, it also connotates cultural shifts and applied learning. In today’s digital realm we have access to information at our fingertips and the ability to sort and shift that data, as Techlife covered in recent columns like What is a computer overload? Meet Watson. and 189 Paradoxesand 700,00 Archives to Listen By.”

Body and Seoul

Google Earth originally debuted in 2001, under a different name. In June it celebrates 10 years of helping people understand our Earth. The applications have been wide reaching, being used in many media and educational settings to help better explain the world around us. We have gotten use to the flyovers, layers, zoom, rotate and ability to see how the world has been affected by hurricanes, tsunamis or earthquakes. Now Google Labs has applied a digital renaissance thinking to this technology in the new Google Body.

Google Body uses the same navigational tools to make exploring the human body familiar and informational. With unique tools to rotate, zoom and uncover layers of own anatomy. Labels like in maps can be turned on and off, allowing a clear understanding of the muscles, bones, organs, and much more. A friend who was a doctor was blown away, then I dropped the final nugget. It’s available for Android too. Digital Renaissance indeed.

Eye ful Tower

A few weeks ago the weather was inclement, and a case of the sniffles was running through the house. A perfect day to have a museum come to me. Go ahead, read that again. Good. So the only question was which museum? Thanks to Art Project by Google we could explore not just the real Renaissance, but any other period of art covered at currently 17 different art museums in places such as Moscow, Berlin, New York City, London, Prague, and Madrid.

Students who want to explore paintings can now do so with the highest resolution imaginable. Architects who want to get a feel for some of the most famous buildings can do a virtual walk through. And best of all, you, can curate your own favorites from all the museums, useful for art fans, teachers and artists.

I decided to visit the Palace of Versailles where I was treated to vast galleries with ornate opulence at every turn. A nice change was a tour around the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Here I spent time lost in The harvest a painting by Vincent Van Gogh; “he considered this impressive vista one of his finest works.”

Continue to learn, stretching your mind across seemingly vast spaces. It is only this effort that will result in true personal renaissance.