The ultimate in interactive elements has arrived in the form of The Elements for iPad. I was a little late getting to this app seeing as how it came out at the iPad launch, but I am really soaking up what the Elements has to offer now. It's is basically an interactive book made by the folks at Periodic Table. They make printed books, etc for the education market around the world. This is their first foray into the iPad/iPhone and I have to tell you; wow. I wish they had this stuff when I was a kid.
The way The Elements works is you have a complete listing of the periodic table of elements in front of you. These objects are not just photos of the elements, but actual 3D renders that move. Tap on an element and it takes you to that element's custom page of discovery.
The element page consists of a big render of the element or an example of it's use on the left of the screen and all the information you could want to know on the right including the atomic radius, structure, weight, density and more of the element. WolframAlpha provides additional information and proves to be an awesome resource.
The bottom right corner gives you additional navigational tools. Tap the right arrow to bring up more information about the element along with even more 3D renders of the the element or it's uses. You can spin/rotate all of the element examples in real-time; there are over 500 renders in this app. You also get a detailed history and story about each element to give even more insight. Of course just having interactive 3D renders aren't enough. No, double tap a render and you are presented with a fullscreen object. Tap the double circle icon and you can view the object stereoscopically. Focus your eyes, you can see a "real" 3D render of the object. Of course, some of us just can't do that. So The Elements gives you a convenient link to order the special 3D glass for $4.95. That is rather cool. I can imagine students sharing the glasses to examine all of the elements in this way and it is really exciting to see the future of interactive education for students.
Alas, there is always another side to the story and regretfully this app has crashes constantly even with the most recent update. I so am looking forward to a few more updates to make it ultra-stable.
The newly formed company TouchPress is responsible for creating The Elements and are on a mission to make more books like this one. What is on my wish list? The human body and the universe, I can't wait.
[$13.99- iTunes Link]