I learnt a bit of Java and Android programming a month or two ago and built the Android version of the Daily Anatomy app. It's now up on the Google Play store for your favourite Android device.
The app will give you an anatomical question every day, will record your total score, and keep track of how you perform on questions from different regions and systems of the body. I'll add leaderboards and achievements in the future.
The animations for Embryology at a Glance that Steve Atherton has been creating have started going up on YouTube. We'll keep working on them and keep adding to the channel. The animations are intended to support the text and illustrations in the textbook. Go and have a look:
I'm building up in training towards the TTG Gloucester Triathlon at the end of May, which will be a training race itself, and then the Pembrokeshire Coast Triathlon at Broad Haven at the end of June. That race will also be the Welsh Championships for that distance, and apparently the club champs. I haven't had a crack at the Cardiff Triathlon club championships for years. The European Championships in Lisbon are in May this year, on the same weekend as Kim's birthday, so I'm skipping that. I can't afford to enter the World Championships, and there has been no sign of XTERRA UK in 2016 so that's died a death. Which sucks, because that's an awesome race. So after Broad Haven, what do I do?
In 2017 the European Triathlon Championships have been split between Dusseldorf for the sprint distance and Kitzbuhel for the standard distance, so if most of my buddies race the sprint distance and I go to Austria on my own, what's the point? Triathlon is partly about competition but largely about friends and experiences, so I'm not motivated to spend the latter half of this race season training to qualify for international 2017 races. Maybe I'll look out for some other multisport events that catch my eye, like the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun series or the OMM... I'll need a partner for those.
The second edition of Embryology at a Glance will be on sale as a paperback from 20th May, and I think digital copies are available in some areas now. We've added a few chapters on stem cells, cell signalling and antenatal screening with the usual full page of illustrations beside a full page of fairly brief text.
The big news with this book will be the new animations. We've been working with 3D animation genius Steve Atherton to produce animations of some of the key embryological processes in some of the chapters. These animations take time to produce and we'll release a collection with the book and continue to add to that collection over time. We've been sharing these with some people for a little while and getting thumbs up, so we're looking forward to sharing them more widely.
The other news is that these videos will be available through augmented reality. Instead of having to go to a website every time you want to look at an animation you'll be able to access them in a number of ways, and one of which will be through the free Aurasma app on your smartphone or tablet. You'll need to sign up and follow the Embryology at a Glance account, but after that you'll just have to show an illustration in the book to your phone and it will grab the video and overlay it over the textbook automatically. More on that soon.
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...
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.