Skell-Pad was built to form the basis of my undergraduate dissertation – so I need some formal feedback to close the loop and provide the research element. The survey I sent out to BABAO before starting work produced some fascinating results, the 60 people who responded record around 7000 skeletons per year between them – which takes a whopping 20,000 hours.
This survey is about how useful Skelly-Pad is and what extra features would make it more useful – all contributions gratefully received- the link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PR7K7K5
So, I thought I’d tested the App pretty thoroughly – but then had to upgrade my development environment so it would work on the newest ipads and a sneaky one slipped through. If you’ve tried to enter the number of ribs or phalanges on the original version you’ll find you can’t.
The bug is now fixed but you’ll need to go to the App Store to download the updated version.
A big thank you to Rebecca Watts at Reading University’s Archaeology department for letting me try out Skelly-Pad on her undergraduate course on skeletal analysis – and also to Alice Mauchline from Agriculture for the loan of the fieldwork iPads for the students to use.
Some great feedback from the students and interesting to see that even the facebook generation don’t always find new Apps easy to use, much stabbing of fingers on screens. One new bug identified and an interesting suggestion to colour the bones in primary colours to represent grading, rather than shades of grey. This is the inventory one of the students did, black is present, white absent, be interested to know if anyone thinks a more colourful approach would work better?
Amazing what you find out by talking to people online, I’d previously had a good look round for archaeology related Apps and found a fair few, mainly heritage walks round archaeological sites (see http://digitaldigging.net/archaeology-apps-heritage-apps/ for a good list). Also found a field walking App that seems to have since disappeared and BillionGraves which is aimed at getting people everywhere to record gravestones!
But have just come across Dactyl, which looks like the beginning of a very useful digital library of bones, with and without fractures, pathology and so on. Bit pricey at the moment for the number of bones available, but given time could be very handy. See http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue38/5/atkin.html for a review of Dactyl and similar skeleton visualisation tools.
Its been a bit of a struggle getting the App ready for Android – for the techies among you I’ve used a multi-platform, open source development nevironment called Appcelerator – but there are a lot of minor differences between Apple and Android that have to be worked round. To say nothing of the fact that Android devices come in a huge range of shapes and sizes. I’ve tested the App on Kindle Fire (7 inch screen) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (8 inch screen) – you can run it on smaller devices but as the graphics won’t scale much smaller you’ll need to use it in landscape mode if you want to draw or annotate the diagrams.
Still, delighted to say that Skelly-Pad is now available on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon
This blog is the home of Skelly-Pad – an App for archaeologists and forensic anthropologists to use to record skeleton and dental inventories. See Features for full details of what’s covered.
It’s been written as part of the dissertation for my BSc in Archaeology at the University of Reading, I’m an IT professional in normal life and couldn’t resist trying to come up with something better than a paper form. I’ll be using this blog to keep people informed of updates, get ideas about improvements and generally track the progress of the App – all comments will be gratefully received.
So, my plan was to publish the App, then sort out a website, then design a survey for users to let me know what they thought and then start publicising it. Thought I’d just send it to my brother Dave first though, as he teaches forensic anthropology, he sent it to his students – one of whom (another Dave) has energetically circulated it to assorted archaeologists and forensic anthropologists – as a result of which there have already been 100+ downloads and I’m getting feedback coming in from all directions!
So if you’ve wound up here as a result of one of Dave’s posts, my apologies if you’ve had no response yet to any queries, as I’ve been busy – working on my day job and getting the App ready to run on Android – will hopefully get round to visiting the various facebook groups involved soon. If you’re interested they are;