VR is the simple term for Augmented Reality. The Augmented World Expo was held last week at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The nick name for this expo is AWE. And yes we were. For educators there are some fantastic new apps and products that will make a lot of us wish we were back in school. And for parents there were apps to make reading even more fun and turn family game fun into family learning fun.
The Spellbound app works with regular paper books. When you look at the book using your smart device the page becomes 3 dimensional. I saw the product demonstrated with Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”. And it was wild, watching the characters jump from the page. Or helping the forest grow.
You can control the interaction both from the book and the screen on your smart phone. The cost for the app is 99 cents for the first three months, which includes all of the books in the Spellbound library. Expect there to be 10 books or less in the library when the app ships but that number should increase. Two thumbs up and a double “OOOOhhhhh” from my teen too.
Wearality 3D Glasses
You can see the difference as you compare them to Google Cardboard below. Even though the Wearality glasses did not completely cover my eyes, the experience was awesome. Both my daughter and I got the chance to swim with dolphins. Wearality 3D glasses are available through their Kickstarter campaign for $79 with an October 2015 expected ship date. Again a two thumbs up and a double “OOOOhhhhh” from my teen.
By the way, where do you find the apps for the Wearality and other VR googles? Download them from the Google app store. Search for Cardboard. Most of the apps are free. Besides swimming with the dolphins, I loved the roller coaster ride. (Thanks for the tutorial from Michael Jones at Wearality!)
VR goggles are for fun people. You absolutely must have a good attitude and be ready to laugh at yourself. Why? Because you look really foolish looking at the floor and then the ceiling saying ‘oohhh’ and ‘aaahhh’. Or turning around and reaching out your hand to touch a Martian landscape that no one else can see but you.
Slated for Christmas 2015 the View-Master been updated to take advantage of VR, but still retains the same look and feel as our favorite toy from long ago. The View-Master opens and you insert your smart phone. Then start the app (or experience as it is termed by Mattel).
The new View-Master is priced at $29.95 with one disk. Additional disks are expected to be available at $14.95 for a package of 4. The View-Master will also work with Google Cardboard. The Wow factor for me was visiting with the dinosaurs.
zSpace for Educators
Something really exciting for educators from the company ZSpace.
Zspace uses a 24 inch display, lightweight glasses and a stylus to create a stunning 3D image. I manipulated a human heart, raising it above the screen to view it from several angles. I placed a camera inside the heart so that I could view it from the inside. I was able to remove parts of the heart so that I could see them separately. And what really blew me away…feeling the heart beat through the stylus.
Zspace already has an impressive list of activities available on their site including activities for Earth and Space Science, Life Science, Physical Science and Social Studies (I’d love to visit Ancient Egypt using their product.) They are also working with companies to get grants to offset the cost of the product for schools.