Dactyl Viewer v2!

Today’s been an exciting day. Our programmers have been busy over the past couple of weeks, and today have forwarded on version 2 of the Viewer for us to play around with. It’s not quite perfect – but it’s getting there! The camera is a little clunky and the info text not quite right, but the screen is now optimised for different sized tablets and we have a new way of accessing downloaded bones. Talking of which, we have some of the new ones loaded in for testing too – including the femur, humerus, radius and the mysterious one peeking out of the screenshot on Twitter. The eagle-eyed of you will have noticed something new with the pins there too…

It’s not too late to give us your feedback – so keep it coming in!

Dactyl up-and-running at UCL!

We’re always really delighted to hear about how people are using Dactyl – whether in research, teaching or as an interesting activity to do while on the loo – and the feedback is so useful for our development team. This week, we heard from Sherry¬†Nakhaeizadeh, a PhD candidate down in the¬†UCL Department of Security and Crime Science. Here’s what she said:

“I have just started using Dactyl as a tool for part of my PhD work as it allows me to access materials at any time and in any location to study realistic examples of bones. As a newly started PGTA, Dactyl gives me an opportunity to use it as part of my teaching materials in a practical and fun way that is of a very high quality and aids learning in an interactive way through 3D digital osteology.”

This is exactly what we hoped Dactyl would do, so for the moment, we’re totally pleased with ourselves… High fives all round at anthronomics Towers! Let us know your Dactyl stories too!

Review in Internet Archaeology!

I am delighted to say that Dactyl has been reviewed in the journal Internet Archaeology. The review was written by Alison Atkin and we’re delighted that she liked what see played with!

We know we’re still a work-in-progress but we’re so happy that people are liking what’s available so far. We’re currently working on an upgrade, nay, a super-upgrade for version 2! More bones, more colour and more value for money! Stay tuned for more info soon – oh and be sure to check out the review!

Decisions, decisions…

Well that was fun! We spent some time this week looking at some wonderful examples of bony features – traumas, pathologies, non-metric traits. It was so interesting, and we’ve chosen the most interesting ones to pop into the next version of Dactyl. We’ve tried to get the balance right between examples that are fascinating to study and those which will be most useful in learning and teaching environments.

We can’t wait to show you what we’ve chosen – and we’re sure you’ll love them too!

Arm-ed and dangerous…

So, now that we’re up-and-running with Dactyl, and people are using it, it’s time to add to our bone packs and increase the reference collection that is available to you all. But the fun thing is, we’ve not decided yet what to scan and model. We’re crazy like that… We’ve had some requests though, and that’s totally how we want this to work. You tell us what you want, and we’ll whip them up for you. Then we’ll be BFFs!

The first request to be modelled is the upper limb. One of our users felt that this would really help his anatomy teaching, we totally agree. Our team are now in the midst of making his digitisation dreams a reality! We’ll even give him this pack for free, seeing as it was his idea.

We’ve had other good suggestions come into anthronomics HQ too, so if you’ve got something that in mind that would help your teaching – just let us know!

Happy first (month) anniversary!

Well, Dactyl has been live on the Apple iPad App Store for a month now, and it’s been a really exciting time. After the years of research and development, it’s wonderful to see people download the app and the additional bone packs. Speaking of which, the trauma one seems to be the most popular!

Oh, and super congratulations to Alison Atkin and A. Jay van der Reijden who won the best poster and podium presentations prizes at the BABAO conference in Durham this month. Each wonderful student picked up a huge pile of anthropologically-related goodies, including copies of Dactyl! Well done guys!

Now that the university terms are starting up again, we’re hoping that even more people will want to use Dactyl for learning about skeletal anatomy! We’d love to hear from you if you are using it! We may even put a picture of you on our website – you gorgeous creature you!

animEXPO-sing ourselves…

Phew! We have officially survived the animEXPO event yesterday. The event was organised by the guys at Digital City Innovation and formed part of the excellent animex festival. The theme of the session was the confluence of gaming technologies with other areas and disciplines – obviously something very close to our heart.

We were in incredible company there, with speakers from the awesome Rhythm and Hues (who did that tiger in Life of Pi), Epic and Atomhawk. If you play games a lot, then this is a group of guys to get you super-geeked out. Our talk was on the development of our Dactyl range, and we spoke a bit about the lack of digital technologies in our field, how they’re not been used to their full potential before, and the advantage of linking academic requirements with a gaming experience. We also handed round the new iPad version of the Dactyl range, which went down really well.

The launch is almost here… I’m very excited.

Stick a pin in it…

So, with the Dactyl viewer just about done, we’ve moved our attention to the ‘Pro’ version. This will do all the things that the standard viewer can do, but with added functions. The one we’re testing at the moment is the ability to stick a little pin in the model. Not only does this look pretty, but it brings up a text box in which you can type all manner of info. So, as a teacher, you might want to describe some pathological feature, or as a student, you might want to pin something and type “What on earth is this..?”. It’s going to be really useful in lab sessions where students can use the models to supplement their other osteology teaching.