Oh the inescapable allure of a control panel. The promise of buttons, levers, knobs, and switches. Even at a young age we know they hold the keys to a world of machinery offering power, speed, …
Oh the inescapable allure of a control panel. The promise of buttons, levers, knobs, and switches. Even at a young age we know they hold the keys to a world of machinery offering power, speed, and movement. There’s the delight of discovery in just playing with them haphazardly and the reward of figuring out their purpose when they set off klaxons, flashing lights, and sputtering motors followed by the life-like movement of gears, wheels, and mechanical arms. This is the kind of discovery and adventure captured in the children’s book series, Bartleby’s Book Of Buttons.
With its touchscreen and built-in speaker the iPad really brings the book to life in a way that paper never could. As Bartleby travels the world and encounters new machines, kids can actually control them with on-screen buttons, levers, and switches in a way that imparts how the mechanics work (it’s not just about pressing buttons to trigger an effect) while keeping the focus on reading the story.
I featured Volume 2 on App Central because it takes the idea further by using the iPad 2’s video-out feature. With an Apple Digital AV Adaptor you can connect the iPad to a television. This triggers the book to play in a special mode where the main story and animated illustrations appear on your TV’s big screen, but all the levers, buttons, and switches remain on your iPad, now doubling as a control panel. By using two screens, the book series can now broaden its focus on discovery and offer richer activities. I can’t wait for Volume 3.
iZon Remote Room Monitor
There’s a difference between spying and monitoring, something that Stem Innovations happily understands. The iZon surveillance webcam is small and humble enough to slip into a bookshelf or be tucked away into a little corner where it won’t be a distraction, but its kitchen-white finish and need to be plugged into a nearby electrical outlet means it’s not a secret either.
You can “stick” the camera on its rounded, magnetic base at any, and I mean any, angle which is very handy as most hiding spots rarely offer a level view. The camera itself connects to your local Wi-Fi, securely streaming both video and audio over the internet to your iPad or iPhone, loaded with a connected app.
The quality of the stream depends on your connection; great when it’s good, but still offering clear images even when stuttering from a slow one. With both motion and sound sensors the camera can send notifications to your phone when activity is detected and you can have it record the resulting footage either as 30 second clips or as entire movies sent directly to your private YouTube account.
The initial appeal of the iZon is its neat design and use of an app to bring in the popular iPhone, but underneath the novelty flourishes is a very practical device with the easy set-up and encryption security you’d expect for a household monitoring system. If you’re just looking for something that will help you discover what’s happening in a room when you’re not there, the iZon will do the trick well.