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!

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.