I discovered two free Apps, for the iPhone. One which is rather addictive and the other simply amazing and seriously has potential to change the way we see the world around us.
The first available from the App Store is called Soundrop. (also available for the iPad) As you can see from the picture it is a simple application, a solid black screen and some lines. Sometimes the simplest things in life bring the most pleasure, and this is one of them.
You begin with a droplet falling down the screen. There are no instructions and no sounds at this point. But tap the screen and move your finger across it and a line is produced. The drop now bounces off this line and produces a sound much the same as a xylophone.
As you draw lines around the screen, so these drops ricochet off them producing yet more notes, and the placing of the lines around the screen determines the pitch of the notes produced. I love Apps like these, where no musical knowledge is required yet the results can be quite amazing and it is very hard to produce a messy out of tune sound. You also feel as if you’ve just created your very own bit of music, unique to you and the time in which you created it.
The second App – SekaiCamera blew me away. For such a fully featured application I was surprised at it being free. Many a review is glowing of its uses and rated at 5 stars, while others (perhaps due to the lack of clear instructions) put it down. But don’t let the negative reviews put you off – after all it is of no cost so always worth a punt.
What SekaiCamera does is bring together the iPhones GPS, accelerometer and camera together to allow you to ‘air tag’ the world around you. If you wonder what an air tag is, see the picture where I have tagged my garden.
The example picture is the simplest form of an air tag, but walking around my local area I found many, some funny, some sentimental and some as if ‘virtual graffiti’ all hidden to passing people but with an iPhone and this App suddenly become apparent.
You can text, photo or even sound tag locations. At the top of the screen when the phone is held in landscape orientation you see the world through the phones camera. To the top is a compass and within the bar is a square. You also see many tiny dots, which if you will is your ‘tag radar’. By walking in the direction of the compass and keeping the dot in the square you can navigate to air tags around you. I found some giving impromptu reviews of a restaurant and others leading you to the best pub.
Then in a park I found a rather sweet one hanging above a bench where ‘Sarah and Tom fell in love here’. But it is not just text air tags, you find some with a musical note, tapping it plays what the person had left as speech at the location, others show group photo’s of people. You get a kind of historical record of those who were where you are, but have since left but equally left something in their place.
I’ve yet to try it out in far more busy parts of London but can imagine there being many hundreds of such tags.
These days we seem defined by sharing our lives, feelings and experiences with many. Usually it is through the likes of Facebook but an application like SekaiCamera brings it to a new level allowing people to post in tags where they have been, how they were feeling or what they were thinking. Like Twitter, you can ‘follow’ a person and reply to their tag and while it is anonymous begin a sort of ‘tag conversation’.
Turning the phone to portrait view closes the camera and brings you your history. You can see any replies you’ve had to tags, delete them and see where you have been through the ‘footmarks’ feed. It uses the mobile internet to download such data but does seem to work best if you are within range of WiFi.
All in all though two very good, free applications that is well wroth trying out for a bit of fun.