Category Archives: Skelly-Pad

Posts about Skelly-Pad App for Osteological recording

Skelly-Pad Update

Its been a while, so about time there was an updated version of Skelly-Pad.  Mainly prompted by requests to allow joint grading on juvenile skeletons, so I’ve added that functionality and also fixed a few bugs.

The App will prompt you from time to time to rate it on the App store – all feedback welcome! Note that this is an IOS only release for now, will update the Android version as soon I can.




Forms for Skulls!

Archaeo-Pad is mainly aimed at recording data on site, but one of my Skelly-Pad contacts pointed out that it might also be a good tool to capture measurements from skeletons – particularly if you don’t want to do a complete skeleton inventory , which is what Skelly-Pad is aimed at.

After a bit of checking for the right measurements to collect I’ve put together a form to record the cranial measurements (that’s skull for nom-osteologists!) needed to do an ancestry assessment using the widely used CranID software created by Richard Wright.

I’ve also created a Forms Library to hold custom forms, so if you design a form you think other people might find useful and are willing to share just let me know and I’ll add it to the list.




Devils in the Detail!

It doesn’t seem to matter how carefully you check a program or calculation, or an academic source, somehow errors always seem to creep in. I’m indebted to Alastair Thomson from the University of Reading for spotting that the stature calculations based on Femur Length in Skelly-Pad were wrong. Initially we thought there was just a  single error but after poring over the source I used originally and a variety of standard texts it appears that there was systematic error in the Femur table I had used.

I suspect that it was a simple swapping of rows from one table to the other, an easy thing to do when you’re copying lists of numbers. The Skelly-Pad calculations have been fixed (and checked and re-checked) against the table in Human skeletal remains : excavation, analysis, interpretation  Ubelaker (1999).

I also took the opportunity to add the calculations for Mexican and Mongoloid males (not sure why there are no females?), new version on Apple and Android now available.


Skelly-Pad – New version released

The latest version of Skelly-Pad includes a number of features that have been requested by users in the field, particularly those excavating the numerous cemetries that are found all round the UK. This version is available on iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

New features include;

  • Ability to manage large numbers of skeleton using folders, move skeletons between folders, export and import folders, delete folders
  • Record Joints and Joint Pathology
  • Record Cranial measurements using CRANID measurements and export in CRANID ready format
  • New Adult Skeleton format based on the Museum of London recording standards
  • Ability to import skeletons from other users archives – see Skeleton Archive for an initial set of data from the Wellcome Osteological database
  • Add new values for Ancestry

See Google Play or iTunes App Store to downlaod.

Skeletons in bulk!

The tricky thing about developing Apps is that you don’t know until they’re published how people will use them. The feedback I got during development suggested that most users would be analysing skeletons in the lab rather than recording them during excavations, but thanks to some very useful feedback from user in Israel and Iceland it seems that Skelly-Pad is proving very useful for on-site, in trench use. That’s particularly true when the bones are very fragile so that this is the only time that measurements can be accurately taken.

Recording a whole cemetery at once means there are more skeletons being held in the App than I’d anticipated so I’ve added a paging feature that means you can flip through the skeletons more easily and some basic search functionality to locate a particular skeleton in a long list.  Only available on iPad and iPhone right now, a new version of Android introduced a new bug 😦 – but hope to get the Android version updated soon.

The current record is 51 skeletons, if you’ve done more let me know!


Digital bones

Record your skeleton and dental inventory straight into a tablet, share the inventory with other users or export to Excel. Includes age at death, sex assessment, stature estimation and full juvenile skeleton with sexual maturity assessment.

See the FAQ for Frequently Asked Questions


iPhones included

When I started building Skelly-Pad iPhones were still mostly small, so I decided it didn’t make sense to publish the App on them because it would be too difficult to use.  But in the last year or so they seem to have got bigger and bigger – so much that some phones are almost as big as small tablet. I’ve also had people ask to try Skelly-Pad on a phone so after a bit of tinkering around the latest version is now usable on even the smallest iPhone.

With smaller phones you’ll need to switch between landscape and portrait mode a bit to get the best results but everything is usable – you can zoom in and out of the pictures if need be.

This version also has some changes to try and prevent crashes on iPad Air devices (which are prone to crash if you turn them around and the App flips around to match) and a bug in the import utility that caused some imports to fail.

Version 1.1.10 is available on the iTunes App store and Google Play.



Skelly-Pad is for Sharing

So, like any typical IT project, the latest version has taken a bit longer than I’d hoped to emerge from testing. There were some new features that I decided really had to be added before the next version went live.

Specifically, I’ve added a new form of export that lets you share skeleton reports with other Skelly-Pad users. You can already share them as HTML pages or in Excel format but this new format (JSON for any technies) is designed to make it easy to import the data back in.

If you send a skeleton by email the recipient can just tap on the Skelly-Pad icon that will appear when they select the zip file attached to the email and it will let them import into Skelly-Pad.

In theory this should also work if you share via Dropbox and similar methods but there seem to be some oddities in the way Dropbox is built that mean that doesn’t happen. If the sharing method you try doesn’t work probably the best approach is to revert to email.

New version, 1.0.9, is now live on the Apple App Store and on Google Play (haven’t quite fot the Kindle version wokring yet).

Also – please note that the free version only lets you record 2 juvenile skeletons, there’s a modest charge of £3.99 for unlimited use – mainly to cover the cost of publishing which is £100+ pounds a year!

Any issues please either comment on this blog or email



Unexpected chuckles

I’m just doing a full test of the latest version of Skelly-Pad, this includes a juvenile skeleton and the ability to upload photos. Testing is one of the less fun parts of any IT project, but very necessary – especially in Apps which are distributed to a wide range of tablets with different versions of software. So always nice when something unexpected but nice happens.

I was randomly typing characters into the App to check that it copes OK with apostrophes and other special characters when I accidentally tapped an emoticon on the iPad keyboard. Wasn’t planning to test that but it turns out to work fine, so my test skeleton is now looks like this;

smily skeleton






Getting Help with Skelly-Pad

The initial feedback from the survey and Skelly-Pad users has been great. Top of the list for new features is the ability to record Juvenile skeleton and dentition, which has been quite tricky but is nearly done. I’m hoping to publish the new version in the next month or two so watch this space.

In the meantime a few people have commented that they’ve had trouble running Skelly-Pad reliably, but unfortunately I don’t have their contact details to work through what the problem is.

If you have any problems with the App, or suggestions for new features, then please email and I’ll do my best to sort things out.

Please include as much information as you can about the type of tablet you’re using and the problem you’re having.