Killer or not, robots have long intrigued many of us. Once thought to be a mere product of science fiction, many of these incredible machines now live and work amongst us thanks to brilliant engineering feats. However, the field of robotics still holds many promises, and it will need the contribution of bright minds to achieve them. Trying to spark the public's interest in robotics is Robots for the iPad, an educational and comprehensive guide to robotics.
Rise of the Machines
Robots for iPad was created by IEEE Spectrum Magazine, an award-winning technology magazine and flagship publication of the world's largest technology society. Developed to be the most complete guide to robotics, the app features over 100 robots from 19 countries that range from autonomous vehicles to eerily realistic humanoids.
Each robot is described in details along with its creators and creation date, technical specifications, fun facts and numerous high quality photos and videos of the robot in action. Some robots that are featured in the app even contain 360-degree views or interactive images that you swipe and tap respectively to activate.
If you especially like a robot, you can mark it as favorite for quick access later. There is also the ability to rate a robot between 1 to 5 stars, cast a vote whether you would like to own it and rate its appearance on a creepy or nice scale. The app calculates the ratings from all users and rank the robots based on the data.
Newbies who are interested to learn robotics might want to check out the Learn tab that contains a collection of comprehensive starter guides. These include high quality audio commentaries from robotic experts, a helpful guide on how to get started in robotics, a glossary of robotic terms and an interesting timeline of robotics. Meanwhile, you can also catch the latest updates on the fields of robotics by browsing the News tab to read daily selected articles from IEEE Spectrum.
In addition to learning, you can also play in the app. Included is a fun feature called Face Off, where two similar robots are presented together with a random and (often) silly question, such as which robot would win in a kung-fu match, which robot dog you would rather take for a walk or which robot you would rather hug. After choosing a robot that you think answers the question, the app will show the percentage of users that agree with you.
Parents Need to Know
As expected from an award-winning publication, Robots for iPad is an excellent app that contains a wealth of knowledge. There is so much information within the app that you would need a couple of hours to completely explore it.
A strong point of the app is definitely in its presentation. Despite the large volume of information, you will not feel overwhelmed because the app breaks them down into several sections. Navigating the app is also simple and straightforward.
Based on my experience in using the app, I would say that it would be a great learning tool for juniors aged 9 and up, as well as adults who are keen on robotics. I picked said age range because I believe that while the articles are simple enough to understand, they do contain terms that younger juniors may not yet comprehend. Also, some of the robots have creepy appearances and may scare timid children.
It is also worth noting that as the app has video contents and also collects anonymous ratings, an Internet connection is required to access most sections. However, the app is quite safe for juniors as it does not contain ads or in-app purchases.
Robots for iPad is available for all generations of iPad, including iPad 1, iPad 2, iPad 3rd gen, the new iPad and the iPad mini. However, iPad 1 owners should take note that the interactive 360-degree views cannot be viewed in full screen on their devices.
What I Like
Robot enthusiasts, pay heed. Here is an app that you should not miss. Robots for iPad is an app so well made that even I who is not so big on robots have changed my mind after trying it out.
In terms of educational value, the app really gives you a run for your money. I cannot stress enough the vast amount of information included that are informative, well-written and witty. Some will even surprise you; for example, did you know that in 1495, Leonardo da Vinci designed a mechanical automaton in the form of a suit of armor that can move? Or that in 1739, a French inventor built a robotic duck that can digest grains? It is quite unbelievable to learn that the field of robotics have such a long history.
I also enjoy learning about the different types of robots and the purposes that each of them serves; for example, there are robots that are used solely for research and military combat, as well as consumer robots that can actually be bought and used at home. Eric and my favorite robot is Nao, a cute humanoid robot that can really bust a move:
For a scientific app, I have to say that Robots for iPad is really user friendly. I like that the app engages users by asking them to rate robots and answering silly face-offs; in fact, they were some of my favorite activities in the app.
I also appreciate the inclusion of high quality audio interviews, photos and videos. Looking at them, I can tell that much effort was poured into them (my suspicion was later confirmed in the About section, where the developers explained that they painstakingly photographed all the robots and organized the results to create the 360-degree views). This is a high quality app, and one that you should really not miss.
Robots for iPad is an excellent and in-depth guide to robots and the field of robotics. There is an extraordinary amount of information and interactivity included in the app that makes it a great learning tool for robot enthusiasts young and old. If you or your juniors love robots, then you must get this app.
Robots for iPad is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.