I thought I should update you guys on what I’ve been doing with the Daily Anatomy app since its release in January, and what I’m planning to do.
My main job has been to write batches of new questions and add them to the ever growing pool of questions that the app draws from each day. We have seem some questions repeated, and we’ve seen some interesting sequential questions on the same topic, and some similar questions asked, but these are all chosen at random. The bigger the pool, the lower the chance of seeing the same question again. Writing good quality, accurate questions with a helpful feedback description is a lot of work (and a big part of my other job!) and this is why this is a paid app – I need motivation to keep writing these things.
With some of my beta testers we’ve listed plans for adding achievements to the app, to reward users for answering a number of questions correctly for each system and region, for example, among others. I’ve also written some code to note your longest correct question answering streak and I’ll add a second leaderboard so you can compete on this front too.
The Daily Anatomy app went live on the Apple App Store in January, and the leaderboard is slowly filling up with students. I’ll be adding batches of questions regularly so the bank will keep getting bigger, and the daily question is chosen at random.
Hopefully people will find it fun, challenging and helpful!
I’ve started work on an Android version but as I’m creating these in my spare time (and how much spare time does an academic ever really have?) it will take a while to get an early version on the Google Play Store.
I have plans for updates to the Daily Anatomy app that I hope to release during the year, and have also begun developing ideas for another app, also for medical students but not anatomy related…
See the Daily Anatomy iPhone app on the Apple App Store here.
Kim and I have been working on a final icon for the app, and the app itself is now at a build release that I’m sending out to testers. I’ll see what testing brings over the next week or so, and if all is good the next stage will be submission to the app store. As the new submissions section closes over Christmas the app may be come available in January.
This year I’ve been working on a new iPhone app, and it’s getting close to being ready for release. This is the Daily Anatomy app, and it will present a randomly selected anatomy multiple choice question every day. Each answer includes a description about why the correct answer is correct, with some associated anatomy tidbits.
Every correct answer earns 10 points, and your score is collected over time, along with the number of days played, your run streak (how many questions you get correct in a row), and a bunch of data about the system and region of anatomy associated with the question. There’s a high score Game Centre Leaderboard, and your own question performance data can be viewed historically to give you an idea about your strengths and weaknesses in anatomical knowledge. That data is only visible to the user.
Have you been keeping up with the TweetyPi bird box through its Twitter account? We had some blue tits nest in it and some eggs were laid a couple of weeks ago. Today two of them hatched! Wow, they’re tiny.
Follow the @tweetypibirdbox here.
I went for a run with my Pebble yesterday. Being a geek and a triathlete I collect huge amounts of data from my training and have been using Garmin & Polar devices for many years, but as I was running with my iPhone anyway (something I rarely do but needed to be contactable) I thought I’d see how the Pebble works. Short answer – it works really well but it’s very simple.
I used to use the Map My Tracks iPhone app to allow my family to see where I was when training and to see if I ended up in any hospitals (only once so far), although we just use Find my Friends now. The Map My Tracks app was still on my phone so I started it up and dipped into the settings as I knew it had Pebble support.
I finally got round to converting the iOS Skull Osteology app (and web resource) into an Android app, test it, and get it up on the Google Play Store. It should work on Android phones but I haven’t tested it on tablets.
The aim of this app is to give students the key details of the anatomy of the skull, ideally while looking at a plastic model of a skull (or a real skull in the lab, if available). Working with physical items seems to be the best way to learn anatomy and remember that information, and virtual resources like this are intended to supplement the unlabelled models with helpful information.
Go to the Google Play Store to download it.
Annabel and I got our prototype working for the bird box, and I ordered a cheap passive infra red (PIR) sensor for a couple of quid. I spent a bit of time wiring it up to the Pi’s GPIO pins and used the Raspberry Pi Spy’s excellent guide to work out how to trigger and respond to events. The first thing I played with was a small Python script that gave a little feedback on screen to what was happening but more importantly lit up a red LED when the PIR sensor detected motion. Its a great example of physical computing and a really good way to play with some programming. I was very pleased with myself when I made the LED light up when people walked into the room!
I bought an extra long cable for the Pi camera and tested it out. Annabel and I cut some wires the same lengths as the camera cable to wire up the sensor and LED, soldered some female breadboard type connectors to the ends and hooked them up. We covered the wires in a length of heat shrink tubing and shrank it down.
I bought a Printrbot Simple Metal 3D printer at work. We’ve got a bunch of ideas of things we’d like to do with students in anatomy, continuing with the linking virtual and physical information theme. The technology is at the stage where 3D printers can cost £500 or less, and the plastic they print with (PLA, for example, costs around £18 per kilogram). It’s pretty cheap, and it produces cheap things, cheaply. It turns stuff on your computer screen into real things. And it’s mesmerising to watch. And plays a tune (unintentionally) thanks to the constant movements of its 3 motors. This also fits with our idea of making technology available for all teachers to use in teaching, not just the ubergeeks.
When you have a 3D printer you realise how much you can do with it. I’ve been printing Christmas decorations to help improve the adhesion of the first layer of PLA to the print bed, and Kim will never have to buy another cookie cutter or mould. Just pop to Tinkercad, work through the tutorials and design some cookie cutters in any shape you want. Download, print, bake.
Jack’s bird box has been kicking around for ages and I’d like to make use of it. He enjoyed making it, and I asked him and Annabel if they’d like to gadget it up a bit and finish it off by adding a night vision camera to keep an eye on any birds that may choose to nest, and painting, draft proofing, and attaching it to the house. Annabel really liked the idea.
I bought a load of cheap bits and Annabel put together a Raspberry Pi computer after I’d set up the Linux operating system on the micro SD card. She plugged all the parts together herself, including the Pi noir camera that doesn’t have an infrared filter, and powered it up.