Mobile Development Services

Emerging Technology and Communications has participated in many mobile projects for the University community, from consulting on setting projects up and getting them out to the world, to providing start-to-finish development services.

Here are some of the projects we’ve contributed to. Many of these projects are available in the iOS and Mac App Stores; Android Play; or through our work-in-progress site. Our services extend to all the needs of the University:


Bedtime Learning Together

Bedtime Math is an educational project to improve pre-school math skills by providing stories for parents and children to read together and talk about. The Bedtime Math Foundation has published a mobile version of the site in the iOS App Store.

The Department of Psychology of The University of Chicago, led by Professor Sian Bellock, is conducting a study of the effectiveness of Bedtime Math’s techniques. Emerging Technology and Communications bridged the gap between the developer of the public app and the Department’s needs for collecting data reliably while preserving the privacy of the families in the study. The study’s version of the app will be released to families when the five-year study begins in September of 2013.


Emerging Technology and Communications worked with Dr. Melissa Gilliam (Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Pediatrics; Chief, Family Planning; Associate Dean for Diversity, Division of the Biological Sciences) to develop an iPad application that makes better use of a patient's time while in the waiting room.

Choices screen shotWe developed the application, “Choices,” to provide complete, accurate information about what options are available to the patients, and which are the most effective. The goal is to provide an engaging tool the patients can use to make informed, confident decisions about their reproductive lives.

Emerging Technology and Communications worked with Dr. Gilliam’s team to take the project from concept to delivery, taking complete responsibility for the development of an interactive multimedia application. It is now being used in a pilot study at a Planned Parenthood clinic serving low-income women at high risk of unintended pregnancy.

Learn more from the Choices page.

Download the application yourself from the work-in-progress page and try it out.


Many visitors to emergency rooms who come with urgent conditions can be released in short order, but must follow after-care instructions to complete their treatments. These instructions are typically given by word-of-mouth, from a hurried professional in a noisy, stressful environment, supplemented by pre-printed forms with the patient's specifics filled in.

HealthSpotr screen shot

HealthSpotr, designed by Dr. David Beiser, Assistant Professor of Medicine, and his research team. provides an engaging and intelligent alternative. At the start, the patient can make a video recording of the caregiver's instructions. Thereafter, HealthSpotr displays day-to-day tasks for after-care; schedules reminders when tasks come due; and offers multimedia guides to the patient's condition and how to decide if the condition requires a return to the ER.

HealthSpotr was the winner of the 2013 Mobile Application Challenge. With its partners, Emerging Technology and Communications provided guidance on developing ideas and designing the app; and followed through with teams of developers to bring the entrants' visions to reality.

The HealthSpotr team is taking the next step, of developing the prototype into a clinical application, and conducting a study of its effectiveness.

My Roots

It can be difficult for physicians to diagnose conditions that stand out clearly if they have access to the patient's family health history. They can plan treatment, and emphasize preventive measures to head off potentially-heritable conditions.

My Roots screenshot

In modern practice, primary-care consultations are too brief and stressful to allow patients and physicians to gather all the details needed for a good family history. My Roots , conceived by Dr. Benjamin Lemelman of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery department of the University of Chicago Medicine, gives patients a complete framework for organizing the health history of each close family member. The patient sees graphically what information has been filled-out, and what questions still need answering. A complete family history is developed that can be shared with the physician in person, or by email.

My Roots was a finalist in the 2013 Mobile Application Challenge. With its partners, Emerging Technology and Communications provided guidance on developing ideas and designing the app; and followed through with teams of developers to bring the entrants' visions to reality.

Video Protocols

Biomedical research laboratories observe protocols, or standard procedures, to ensure that commonly-performed procedures are carried out correctly and efficiently. Until now, researchers and technicians relied on printed documents, often voluminous, to guide them. Not only are these cumbersome, they often can't illustrate all techniques clearly.

Video Protocols screen shot

University of Chicago Senior Research Specialist Tao Sun has developed a widely-used website, Video Protocols, to publish video guides to standard laboratory protocols. Researchers from all over the world contribute demonstrations, ratings, and comments.

Tao Sun became a finalist in the 2013 Mobile Application Challenge with his project to bring the Video Protocols knowledge base to mobile platforms. Emerging Technology and Communications provided guidance on developing ideas and designing the app; and followed through with teams of developers to bring the entrants' visions to reality.



Initially a project of Joshua Day, a Classics student, Attikos presents more than 20 complete texts in classical Greek. More than just a reader, it responds to word selections by showing the root meaning, grammatical form, and links to detailed scholarship through the University’s online Logeion database.

Attikos screen shotSince Attikos’ publication on the App Store, Emerging Technology and Communications has undertaken the further development of the app. It will officially debut as a product of the University of Chicago in Fall of 2013

Find Attikos in the iOS App Store, or see the work in progress.


Maggie Fritz-Morkin, a graduate student in Romance Languages and Literature, proposed a digital tool for the Department’s Language Through Literature project. We helped her design Dante, a reader for Dante’s Divine Comedy, and developed it to the point where it is ready for the final version of the data.

Dante screen shotDante provides users with an index by Canto, and allows them to page through from Canto to Canto. Tapping a word shows the part-of-speech, root form, and meaning of the word.

The author of the data set may attach pop-up notes either to word entries or to passages in the text, all through a simplified markup language that puts little burden on the author’s workflow.

Dante runs on iPad 2 and later, iOS 4 or later. Download and run the app from its work-in-progress page.


Emerging Technologies and Communication worked with Professor Robert Morrissey (Benjamin Franklin Professor of French Literature, and the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, Director of the Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL) and of the France Chicago Center) on an iPad counterpart to the Encyclopédie.

Encyclopédie screen shotEncyclopédie allows the user to browse this masterpiece by volume, author and class.  It includes rich versions of plates and original pages.

You can find more information on our summary page. Encyclopédie is available for iPad from the iOS App Store, free of charge. 

Praise for Encyclopédie:

Oh! How moving! It's fabulous, fantastic, extraordinary! I never imagined that one day this exceptional work of genius should be available to the whole world at a single tap. I weep with joy, for as you know, to have an enjoyable version after a lifetime is good fortune enough; but to have it so readily, readable with no more ado than the tap of a finger!

The Americans have a better grasp of learning than some French… As I've often said, you're the best :-)

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for spreading knowledge.

— Martine Groult, Research Scientist at the National Center of Scientific Research (Ph.D. in Philosophy : The systematic philosophy of the Encyclopédie), organizer the CNRS Workshop Panckoucke Encyclopédie Méthodique and Senior Research Scientist at UNESCO Chair of Philosophy in Canada.

Kanji Alive

The Kanji Alive web site has introduced Japanese-language students to the Chinese-derived kanji character set for more than a decade. The Kanji Alive project is bringing it up-to-date with current technology and design, and part of that will be mobile applications for portable use.

The project is being carried on by the Kanji Alive team itself, but Emerging Technology and Communications has assisted them through intellectual-property, design, and distribution issues.


Another project of Joshua Day and the Classics Department, Logeion brings the University’s on-line Logeion Greek and Latin dictionary to mobile size. Logeion provides complete definitions, citations, grammatical forms, cross-references, and scholarly references.

Logeion screen shotLogeion was brought into Emerging Technology and Communications, where the author has completed work. The department has supported him all the way with expert advice on design and implementation.

Logeion is in the App Store today, for iPhone and iPad running iOS 7 or later.


SeriousGreek is the working name of a tool for exploring the grammar and rhetoric of a selection of Greek texts in-depth. The page-by-page reader is beautiful, but the real strengths lie in the ability to select grammatical forms and see them highlighted in the text; and to take a quiz to practice the roots and forms of randomly-selected words, shown in their context.

Serious Greek screen shotSeriousGreek is the brainchild of Helma Dik, Associate Professor of Classics. She came to Emerging Technology and Communications with the concept, SGML texts, and SQL databases she had developed to describe the detailed grammatical and semantic content of the texts.

In academic work, data preparation is often half the job. Emerging Technology and Communications developed tools for converting that data into a form that an iPad application can render with near-instantaneous speed. The source texts for plays, dialogues, and histories had diverse needs for rendering and layout; Emerging Technology and Communications’ tools reduced them to a common stylesheet and markup. Finally, the SeriousGreek app itself presents the data in a compact, accessible form.

SeriousGreek is still in development, with a probable release date in 2014. You can find a feasibility study of the application, for iPad 2 running iOS 6 and up, at the work-in-progress page.

Smart Museum Catalog

In 2011, IT Services was asked to prepare a catalog application for the Smart Museum, to display text and media about artists and their works. Many applications can be built as presentations of on-device web sites. IT Services was able to provide a packaged catalog that the Museum could present on fixed iPad displays.


Steven Clancy of the Center for the Study of Languages came to IT Services with an idea for a development of the language labs of years gone by into the mobile world. Instructors should be able to compile libraries of audio segments, and invite students to insert their spoken responses. The student’s recordings would be composited into a single audio file, and returned to the instructor.

The project was named Soliloquy. Emerging Technology and Communications took this project from concept, through development, to distribution through the iOS App Store, working in close cooperation with the sponsors at the Center. The result was an iPad app with a simple interface that worked as an audio playback, recording, editing, and communications tool for multiple users.

Soliloquy screen shotThere is an “enterprise” version of Soliloquy that is free of the commercial restrictions of the App Store version, on the work-in-progress page.

Again, data preparation is half the job. Soliloquy loads libraries from web resources, which automatically launch the app to do the download. The library files and special URLs must be carefully composed, and it was too much to ask instructors to build them by hand. Soliloquy Composer is a Mac OS X application for building Soliloquy libraries, offering continuous support to ensure the user produces high-quality libraries.

Soliloquy Composer screen shot

It can be downloaded free-of-charge from the Mac App Store.

Spanish-English Dictionary

The University of Chicago Press is a renowned publisher of nonfiction for scholars and the general public. When the Press published the sixth edition of its Spanish-English Dictionary, it simultaneously released a mobile companion, available in the iOS App Store.

Spanish-English Dictionary screen shot

The Press engaged consultants to produce the application, but some considerations of policy and distribution remained. Emerging Technology and Communications has unique experience in guiding projects through the University’s procedures, even when it doesn’t participate in design or development. We helped get the app through the intellectual-property and revenue issues, and did the final build of the app to submit it to the app store (and intercepted a major bug in the process).


Board of Trustees Access

In preparation for the Board of Trustees’ meeting in November 2010, the University administration wanted to conduct a pilot project to replace the massive briefing books distributed worldwide to the trustees with a secure electronic edition. IT Services delivered in two months.

Guided Tour

IT Services’ first mobile project was Guided Tour, in 2009, conceived by UChicago Creative, the University’s public-communications service. Guided Tour offered the user a choice of tours organized by interest, such as historical, scientific, or artistic. Each stop had a full-screen page, describing the site, and providing contact information, hours, photo galleries, and video and audio presentations.

Guided Tour map view

Guided Tour was backed by a web service that provided an editing environment for organizers, and up-to-date information and media for the users.

IT Services provided complete design and development support, working closely with its clients in UChicago Creative.



UChicago Mobile

The University of Chicago released a redesign of the UChicago Mobile App for iPhone iOS 7 on March 3, 2014. The redesign includes several improvements to the app’s functionality, including:

  • Access to personalized content via the University portal,
  • Prominent positioning of the app’s most popular features (news, maps, etc.)
  • Improved maps functionality, with an overlay of bus and shuttle routes

Perhaps the largest difference users will notice in the latest version of theUChicago Mobile App is its sleek and elegant design, a product of the mobile application development team at UChicago IT Services. An intuitive user interface has been combined with UChicago imagery, as well as a diverse yet complimentary color palette, to create more visual interest.  Get further details here.

In the stores for iOS and Android, free of charge.