Pop quiz: what color is the mirror inside your camera? If you answered “No color. It’s a mirror. What the hell are you on about this time, Sorrel?” then you’re dead wrong. Kinda. It turns out that mirrors are ever-so-slightly green.
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Imagine that you could just point your iPhone’s camera at your baby and it would immediately tell you his vital signs: heartbeat and so on. Or that you could fire up an app and it could pick out tiny, invisible movements from what looks like a still video. Using a process called Eulerian Video Magnification, boffins at MIT are doing this already.
You’ve seen Stephen Spielberg’s film, Minority Report, right? Tom Cruise’s character stands in front of virtual screens, puts on a pair of gloves, and manipulates the data and the memories without touching a thing. Well, the super brains at MIT’s media lab have taken the first step toward that reality, using Apple’s magical device as a display screen and a special glove/attachment combo to interact with it.
The video the group has released shows some pretty fancy stuff, drawing objects in 3D real time, and then manipulating them in collaboration with others. There’s even some slick Minority Report-style interface there, with researches moving red and blue rectangles around in the virtual space they’ve created on the iPad.
If, like many people, you find Mondays just too much to cope with, you might want to avoid today’s app. It’s not the sort of thing that’s going to make your Monday feel any better, and in some cases it will just fry your brain until next Monday. Which would be a shame, because you’d miss out on a whole weekend.
Be forewarned, then: The Fourth Dimension is an app which will mess with your head. Deliberately. Even though the aim is education and expansion of knowledge, it will still mess with your head. You will emerge from the experience only fractionally the wiser, and quite a lot more confused than you were at the beginning. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.
The Fling controller from TenOne Design (soon to be reviewed) is a great way to add a physical to your iPhone or iPad, just by suction-cupping it onto the screen. This means that it works with any game on your iOS device that uses an on-screen “joystick.”
The downside is that it moves at the worst moments: I have wiped out in more than one GTA car chase this way. But designers at the Keio University in Japan have come up with another idea. A joystick which uses the iPhone’s camera as a controller.
Ever wonder how those funky aperture numbers ended up on your lens barrel? Or who chose those odd ƒ-numbers that run in the seemingly arbitrary 1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32 sequence? And why does the biggest number refer to the smallest lens-hole?
Now, video sketching supremo Dylan Bennett is back to explain ƒ-stops to you. Grab a beverage, sit back and enjoy 15 minutes of easy-to-follow explanation. With drawings!
If you’re frustrated that your app was rejected from the App Store, you are in good company.
Scott Virkler, senior vice president of eProducts at global science and medical publishing behemoth Elsevier, had a few choice words about Apple’s approval process – and getting rejected by it.
Virkler, speaking in San Francisco at Appnation Enterprise, said his company had three apps rejected by Apple just last week, “because they don’t get our business.”
Hey kids, NASA needs your help. And your iPhone.
Solar Walk is an excellent educational app about space and everything in it. With Earth as your home base, you wander the Solar System, cruising the planets and moons and making discoveries along the way.
Color Uncovered is a neat little educational app for kids and grown-ups, all about the weird and mysterious science of color.