Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Summer Well Spent

Like many of my classmates I started the summer with the best of intentions to keep up on this blog even when classes weren’t in session.  Clearly we can all see how that went…

It was an amazing summer though!  I worked at The GAPP lab at University of Utah on two separate projects, and it kept me BUSY!  The GAPP is a partnership between EAE, the Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) and the Eccles Health Sciences Library.  There we work with many different groups both on and off campus to make games and apps with a purpose.

The first of my two projects was an unannounced prototype for a local start up, which was great to work on and I’ll be very excited to talk all about it once we get the go ahead to speak publicly about it.  But I can talk all about the other one today!

I present to you Doodle Health!  You can think of Doodle Health as Draw Something- With a Purpose!  Doodle Health prompts community members and the world at large to draw images to accompany medical terms.  For instance, if I had to communicate to you the idea of “take two pills a day” through an image, what might that look like?  The biomedical informatics people found that the existing images used in situations like these aren’t always clear, so they hired us to make a webapp to help fix the problem.  We give people a platform to draw medical images, and then guess the meaning of images drawn by their peers.  The researchers then collect the data and see which of the images was best at communicating what it was meant to be.  Later, they’ll use these images to give people who are being discharged from the hospital (and many other situations) better instructions on how to care for themselves.

The coolest part of this project is that you can help!  Go to  and start playing, anything you draw has the potential to help doctors provide their patients with better care.  And if you don’t feel like drawing, go ahead and just guess what other drawings mean.  You’ll still get points and help advance this very valuable research!

better than Draw Something? You bet!
Check it out at

It was a great summer working on this project.  We had a small team which allowed us to have a very flexible process.  But this didn’t mean we omitted using any tools to aid us.  As a lab we decided to adopt Hansoft as our project management software and I must say it was amazing.  It really helped us keep an eye on the state of the project and clearly communicate as a team.

As a producer, learning Hansoft this summer was one of the best things for me, as we’re now going to be using that on our thesis team.  It was helpful on a four person team for sure, but I couldn’t imagine handling the workload on our sixteen person thesis team without it!

Speaking of the thesis game-  I’ll definitely have more to say on it next week.  The game underwent a lot of transitions this summer.  I can’t even really call it Mannequin anymore… But the team has done amazing work this first week back to school.  The new direction we’re taking is really starting to find it’s footing and the team has been working hard at making the concept a reality.  Mark Breeden and Christopher Cherrington have done a great job this first week as our Lead Engineer and Lead Artist respectively and it’s making this 16 person team run like clockwork.  I know challenges will come up throughout development, but I think we’re equipped to handle them.

IGF submission is like 2 months away and there is so much to do and seemingly so little time, but there’s no team I’d rather be making this effort with!