The Everything Machine
Explore electronics on your iPad
Digital toy designers tend to cater for younger users; they probably presume older ones prefer “proper” games. Tinybop thinks that’s left a gap, to be filled by The Everything Machine.
You might mistake this for an educational app about basic electronics. There are batteries, bulbs and beepers to connect, with logic gates between. Then you spot what else you can hook into your circuits. A camera, tilt and motion detectors, transmitters and receivers: this app lets you program your entire device.
It’s a scribble pad for budding developers, with the potential to explode your creative world. This isn’t just turning bulbs on and off – you can catch cookie thieves using a light sensor, a camera and your photo store, or make a detector that tells colours apart.
At this point, full of a hundred ideas, you and your kids will set to work – and you’ll hit a snag. The examples and short manual aren’t enough to understand such a powerful toolkit. Apps for younger kids are simple enough to learn by exploring. This isn’t.
It is worth the effort, though. It’s not just the range of things you can build that’s so enchanting – it’s the satisfaction of building it yourself.
One of our best creations was a simple sound studio. With some switches and a bank of speed- and pitch-changer tools, we could remix our favorite songs to our heart’s content. We could have done the same with specialist software, but it’s much more gratifying to work with tools of your own making.
Not only will you have fantastic fun with this app, you may help raise the next generation of programming wonderkids, too. Matt Thrower This drag and drop programming toolkit has the potential for astonishing creativity, but badly needs better instructions.
And you thought building your own mixer/synth would be difficult…