BABAO 2015 in Sheffield

This year, the BABAO conference was hosted by the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. One of the talks was by Alison Atkin. She gave a great talk, which we really enjoyed, but she also highlighted anthronomics as one of the few osteology companies which explicitly state the ethics and standards that it adheres too. We’re delighted to be recognized for this, because it is such an important part of our ethos.

The conference was also the stimulant for the new Working Group for Best Practice in Digital Osteology – which is an important step forward for the field.

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!

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!

Dactyl is live!

Hello again!

First off, sorry for the silence. We’ve been working hard putting the final touches onto our Dactyl Viewer and models and that’s been keeping us off the internet. Well, it’s been keeping us off this site – we’re still totally addicted to Buzzfeed.

Anyway, we hope you agree that it has all been worth it. Dactyl has now launched on the Apple iPad App Store and is available for purchase and use. It’s already been downloaded in Europe and the US, and we’re really excited to hear how it’s being used in the classroom.

Viewer in action, with pins added.
Viewer in action, with pins added.

We have great plans for this app, so do let us know what features and models you’d like to see. We’re off now to prep for the upcoming BABAO conference where we’ll be showing off a bit. Right after we figure out which ‘Bake Off’ contestant we are

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.

Dactyl in action!

So now that the final build is just about upon us, I thought it’d be useful to actually show you all what Dactyl can do – and how it can help improve the learning experience of those studying osteology.

So I boldly went over to ScreenR to record some mini-skeletal anatomy movies for you all to watch. They’re fun and educational. They’re fun-ducational! I’m pretty sure that word is now going to catch on fast…

So, you should scoot over here if you want to see them.

Body location and recovery short course

So, we have now just about recovered from running the Teesside/Durham Universities short course on ‘body location and recovery in the forensic context’. It’s an intensive 4 days, but it’s such a great course to run as the delegates are always wonderful and come from such a range of backgrounds.

Anyway, the course is really hands-on, and it’s designed for people with little or no osteological experience. This means we need to teach some basic bone stuff. This means we need ‘Dactyl‘! This was the first time that we used the software in a proper teaching context, and it worked like a charm. Explaining the complex anatomy of the temporal bone was a breeze and it was great to be able to pull up examples of arthritis or burning as we were speaking about it too. The students found it really useful, and the other teaching staff were demanding it for the start of term. What a great test of the software.