Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe is a brilliantly crafted iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad app that captures the amazing beauty, history, complexity, and marvel of our universe. Filled with insightful scientific commentary written by Professor Cox and Andrew Cohen, gorgeous photos, information-rich charts, and two and a half hours of video produced by the BBC, you can immerse yourself in amazing details and literally explore the universe with your fingertips.
The home screen of the Wonders of the Universe iPad app is an interactive image of our universe. A help icon pops up at the bottom of the screen to access a fantastic tutorial. Every gesture is explained with clarity and precision. As required by a well-produced iOS app tutorial, it incorporates the same gesture controls required to access the content. The most striking feature of the interface is the visual content’s presentation. Text explaining a chart, photo, and video is accessed with responsive vertical gesture controls. When a visual element pauses in the middle of the screen, it magnifies and text recedes. A video may begin, or a series of photos accessed by horizontal swipes fill the middle of the screen. When you have finished examining the visual content, you swipe vertically or close the content by tapping the “x” icon to continue.
To explore the universe using the interactive home screen image, you use familiar gesture controls. You swipe, pinch, and zoom your way through its layers. You can check out the Milky Way, Crab Nebula, Lagoon Nebula, and local stars. There are simple icons on the screen to label what appears. When you want to go back to the home screen image, you tap the top of the screen and a gorgeous exit fills the screen. Each layer of the universe receives a pause, as you are transported through each layer until the full universe is in front of your eyes. It is a stunning feature.
You can also explore the Wonders of the Universe iPad app with the icons in the top of the screen. You can simply touch the search icon to enter a manual search. Or, you can tap the center icon in a rectangular box at the top of the screen. A horizontal list of topics appears under it containing topics like solar system, subatomic, and galaxies that can be scrolled with horizontal swipes. You can also access two videos produced by the BBC for the Wonders of the Universe iPad app as well. When you select a topic, the screen instantly changes to reflect the selection and a horizontal menu appears at the bottom of the screen. These topics further refine and conveniently categorize the material available. The selections from this bottom menu bar are the brilliant compilations of text, video, and photos described previously.
The Wonders of the Universe iPad app is a $5.99 download, and it is simply worth every penny. The sharp, clear, and amazing videos would justify the price alone. It is an amazing tool for parents and educators as well. The content’s source is reputable, and it is organized and presented for the way kids learn today. The Wonders of the Universe iPhone and iPad app reconnects you with the intricate, nuanced, and gorgeous universe that we inhabit.
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