I think I mentioned it was Edward’s birthday the other day – he’s 7 now. (Going on 17…)
One of his presents was a globe.
Now, I had a globe when I was little, too. And I was very impressed that mine lit up if you plugged it in.
It’s a good example of how things have moved on… his does a whole lot more.
It has a special pen with it that you can touch on countries to find out more about them… and you can put it into “quiz” mode and it’ll ask you to find countries or give you clues and you have to tap the country to get it right.
But it also comes with an app for the iPad – an “augmented reality” app. It has some pretty impressive stuff – and made me think I should tell you about what on earth “augmented reality” is and what the point of it is.
You’ve probably heard of “virtual reality” – that’s where you use a computer, iPad or whatever to make a world that’s in the iPad or whatever it is. Like being in a made-up world.
Augmented reality is a little different. It uses the camera on the device to see the real world and then add made up things to it, to show a mixture of real and made up on the screen.
In the case of Edward’s new app, you can hold the iPad and scan around the room and if you look at the screen, you see the actual room you’re in (via the camera on the iPad) but with dinosaurs walking around!
Or have a video of the garden – with the Niagra falls in the corner.
This app’s mainly a bit of fun, though he’ll learn quite a bit from it. But augmented reality can be used for all sorts of useful things too. From a sat nav with a screen that shows you what the camera sees plus arrows showing you exactly where to go to an app that lets you play space invaders with the invaders in the room you’re sat in, diving out from behind the sofa!
From a way for emergency service to practise rescue missions to apps you can use to add new kitchen units to your kitchen on the screen before you do it for real, to see what it looks like. Or you can use an augmented reality app to measure awkward things in the real world more easily.
I’m sure over the next few years people will come up with all sorts of other ideas for it, too… in the meantime at least you know what “Augmented Reality” is now. (Oh, by the way, it’s often abbreviated to “AR” to confuse you!)
And if you’d rather see what I’m talking about, we just might do an episode of “Inner Circle TV” on augmented reality – I can show you these dinosaurs that Edward’s app makes!
Inner Circle TV is something we do every month or so, only for members of the Inner Circle.
We usually sit down in front of a video camera and talk about something that people ought to know about.
It might be something technology related that’s in the news – it might be something that isn’t new but is important for everyone to know about.
We’ve covered things like how to make a good password and how to keep it secure (you wouldn’t believe how many people have passwords that would take a hacker 5 minutes to crack). Or how to keep your devices running nice and quickly – after all, most people find PCs, tablets and phones all tend to start running a bit slower after you’ve had them for a while… but there are some things you can do to keep them nice and zippy!
Sometimes we’ll answer questions from members – the kind of questions where it’s useful for us to actually talk about it or demonstrate it, rather than just answer in writing.
Anyway, on top of all the other things members get, they get access to all previous episodes – and being a member is the only way to see them.
If you’d like to find out more about the Inner Circle, what else members get apart from ICTV and how to join, the information is here.