Tuesday 23 February 2016 2:54pm
Dr Yusuf Cakmak has been awarded a University of Otago CALT University Teaching Development Grant to help develop his interactive avatar app. The app, currently called the 'Interactive Hand and Forearm Avatar', uses 3D technology to mimic the user's hand and finger movements onto a laptop screen. Muscle activation of the hand is translated to a laptop image and shows which muscles are related to the movement. Labels on the image name the muscles and tendons used to create the movement.
Dr Cakmak hopes that the interactive avatar app will encourage a desire within the students to learn their anatomy, and help them retain their anatomy knowledge through this fun process of learning and practice by doing.
The app is currently at the prototype stage, and Dr Cakmak is working with overseas software engineers to develop the interactive aspects of the device.
The next step will be to evaluate the app as a teaching tool. To do this he will be collaborating with colleagues at the University of Columbia in the United States to seek student feedback. Students at the University of Otago and the University of Columbia will get the opportunity to use the avatar as part of their Anatomy studies, and their feedback will be used to improve the device before it is launched onto the internet.
Dr Cakmak's big dream is to develop a full-body avatar to show body muscles actions in an interactive way. Students would be able to dance, jump, lunge and move around in front of the camera, and the avatar would show which anatomical parts are used in the creation of the movement.
The University of Otago's Committee for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT) administers the Grant. The purpose of the Grant is to recognize the pedagogically-sound use of technology at Otago and to sustain existing efforts in advancing teaching and learning with technology.
Dr Cakmak's profile page