The planets on your phone

lifestyle August 11, 2018 01:00

By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation Weekend

2,914 Viewed

A new educational app lets you explore the entire solar system from your living room



BRING the whole solar system to your living room and let the kids learn all about the planets with an app that costs the same as a dish of fried rice.

The new SolarKit app from Jabez A Churchill uses Augmented Reality (AR) and Contextual HUD (heads up display) to inform your kids about whatever they happen to be looking at. The tack button locks on to objects and displays more details about the object you focus on. 

Solar Kit provides four unique sandbox modes to demonstrate a wide variety of different concepts and information. 

When you open the app, it will ask whether it is being used while sitting or standing in order to create the appropriate sizes of the sun and planets in your room. The pictures of planets in 3D will be superimposed on the environment of your room as if they were really there in the so-called AR environment.

In the Table Mode, the app will drop all the planets on your table or floor to compare the size or scale of them. In this mode, you can observe how the planets are tilted on their axes and compare rotation speeds. 

You can use the Distance Mode to explore a proportionate model of our solar system. For example, you can compare the distance of Neptune from the sun to the distance of earth to the sun.

The app shows animations of the orbits of the planets with the sun at the centre. Orbits are displayed in layers in different heights. You’ll need to step back to see the entire solar system in orbit to observe their distance to the sun.

In Orbit Mode, you or your kids can watch and explore our whole solar system in motion all around you. The app will display the sun and the planets floating around it. The mode demonstrates orbit, rotation, and you can track orbit speeds in relation to each other.

There is also the Planet Mode that allows you to explore the inner structure and atmosphere of any planet you want. Each planet’s moon system is included too. 

I tested the SolarKit on the iPad Pro 10.5-inch. The app ran fast and smoothly. Solar Kit has a suggested retail price of Bt35.