Autodesk, one of the premier 3-D printing companies out there right now--they make AutoCAD, the pioneering software--has a new app out for iPad that aims to make 3-D printing easier. Just snap a bunch of pictures of the object you want to reproduce from different angles, and the app, cleverly named 123D Catch, creates a 3-D rendering automatically.
Fragile Earth, new in the App Store this week, is a simple idea, and it's actually executed simply as well--two or more photos of the same place over time, with a slider so you can see how it looks in the past. But these are places that have been utterly changed by major, unstoppable forces: time, industrialization, development, and climate change.
The potential of tablets to transform the way we learn is pretty extraordinary. The first really "wow" app we saw for the iPad was a re-imagining of the periodic table. Wonders of the Universe, a new app from the BBC, HarperCollins, and Professor Brian Cox, takes you zooming through our universe, from a broad view at multiple galaxies all the way down to a look at subatomic particles--with more than a film's worth of videos, a staggering amount of gorgeous space photos, and hundreds of interesting articles as well. It takes the idea of an interactive textbook far beyond what we've seen before.
Orangutans living in captivity will soon start using iPads for primate play-dates, using Skype or FaceTime to interact with their brethren in other zoos, according to zookeepers. The great apes have been playing with iPads for about six months at the Milwaukee County Zoo, and they’ve been such a hit that other zoos plan to introduce them, too.
OnLive has been around for a little while now, but it's no less improbable than it was when it was announced (at which time some gaming blogs called it a technically impossible scam): a service that streams full games, from major publishers, right to your TV or computer, no console necessary. This week, the company will release mobile apps for smartphones and tablets.
Running around a city trying to find a public bathroom/Starbucks/secluded alley is one of those moments that's an urban dweller's nightmare, and one that's guaranteed to happen several dozen times in real life. (Here we should add that New York, PopSci's hometown, is among the worst of the offenders.) Cloo (technically, "CLOO'", but, you know, we're not calling it that) is a new app for iOS that tries to solve that problem by connecting those in need with friends or friends of friends that are willing to supply their bathrooms--for a price.
A Japanese company called TechFirm has released a new Twitter client for the iPad with a novel--and useful--application. “Breath Bird” allows handicapped users to Tweet using nothing but their breath, allowing those with minimal use of their hands--or even their voices--to plug characters into their Twitter feeds using the microphone on the iPad.
You still can’t use Flash on it, but at least the iPad now allows you to swipe, pinch, and scroll through the entire human genome. A new app from the Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBMi) at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia lets users travel through the entire human genome--all 3 billion base pairs of it.
3-D scanning shouldn't be limited to expensive equipment in labs. Developers have started to use increasingly powerful consumer electronics to do what just a few years ago was well out of the reach of consumers. Grant Schindler's Trimensional app for the iPhone 4 is one of those--and it just got an update to allow it to export your 3-D facial scans to a 3-D printer.
"Game for Cats" is an iPad app with a moving image (either a laser dot or a mouse) upon which all housecats are genetically obligated to pounce, repeatedly. It's almost unbearably adorable. But what about the less domesticated felines out there--lions, tigers, caracals, servals, and the housecat-sized Geoffroy's cat? Turns out they'll play with the app as well, even if their paws are iPad-sized to begin with.