On my last trip to San Francisco this year I visited the California Academy of Sciences where i was immediately fascinated by a tiny robot called Ozobot. Ozobot looks amazingly cute and is able to perform a lot of magic that ultimately teaches your kids how to program by using a visual programming language thats similar to MIT Scratch. Ozobot moves along a black line and reacts on color codes that tell the bot to either turn, move faster or slower or to change the color of its led. Even if your kids are not programming so far its fun to paint mazes where the little friend moves around. Ozobot’s primary sensor is the color scanner that allows the bot to follow the black line and to read color codes in order to control its movements. Another amazing feature I found our recently is the possibility to program the little robots movements by using a visual block language called Ozobot Bit Blockly. Simply program your own Ozobot program online and transfer the program visually onto your bot without any cable involved. Its super cool to see how the bot receives its new program by just sending color codes to its scanner. Ozobot is clearly one of the most innovative teaching robots available right now, because its super simple to use and it looks so cute.
This Arduino controlled Chess board set tangibly connects two players with each other from anywhere in the world. To combine physical interfaces to intuitively control virtual environments gives users the possibility to control all kinds of digital technology without much background knowledge. The combination of tangible artefacts with digital content is called ‘Tangible User Interfaces’. This amazing chess board game is a perfect example for such a tangible interface approach.
Ingressis an augmented reality massively multiplayer online video game created by Google’s NianticLabs. It was released in closed beta release for Android devices. People around the world are fighting for invitiation codes over the last weeks. Luckily i got one invitation code two weeks ago and ever since i am exploring the Ingress reality overlay in my hometown. The gameplay is rather simple, as players of the game belong to one of two factions, Enlightened (color green) and Resistance (blue). The game-play is designed around the mission to capture virtual Portals, in order to enclose regions between portals with virtual links and fields. Despite this really simple game play, Ingress happens to be quite addictive. Exploring a secret world that exists like an overlay on your real world urban environment offers interesting experiences. Ingress also motivates people to go out and explore the real world, like visiting an old sculpture on the way to work in order to hack the virtual portal there. Negative sideeffect of Ingress could be a massive increase of gas usage, as thousands of people are driving through the streets to discover new Ingress portals.
And trust me you will need a power extension for your smartphone to play Ingress 😉
Recently i stumbled upon ‘the Humble Indie Bundle’ website which promotes an interesting collection of independent games in a completely new type of business model. Humble Indie Bundle sells a DRM free collection of Independent Games among other things, such as Videos etc. at a cost that is specified by the average amount of money the people are willing to spend. Each Indie Game Bundle, which by the way is supporting cross platforms, is just running for a limited period of time, before it changes to a new collection of games. You just have to go over the average donation and a cool bundle of DRM free, nice little Indie games are yours immediately. Humble Indie Bundle also shows a live ticker of impressive stats about the actual amount of donations and sells. And the best thing is by buying this DRM free collection of games you are also supporting charity!