Someone famous once said that youth is wasted on the young. (I can't remember who said it. Actually, I'm happy I can remember someone said it at all.) The most obvious reference that adage makes is the comparison of the physicality of the young versus to experience of the old. What might it be like to have the strength, stamina, and agility of a high school football star paired with the wisdom of a sexagenarian. Ahh, one can dream.
I don't want to live forever, but what I do want is to be as healthy as possible while I am living. The problem is that our bodies just don't see it that way. The older we get the less we are able to deal with the constant wear and tear inflicted on us by time. Our eyes don't focus as keenly, our ears don't detect as sharply, joints creak as cartilage thins and ligaments lose elasticity, hair falls out where we want it most and spontaneously spouts where we want it least. In general, over time, we fall apart.
I am, however, not entirely worried. See, I've run across several articles lately that report on the progress science is making in the battle against aging. What's interesting is that I see fewer articles about the quest to extend life and more about increasing the quality of life as we age. It appears that we don't have to lose as much hearing or eyesight, or even none at all, as we get older.
I say that I'm not entirely worried. While all the advances being made is music to my aging ears, they may not be ready for public consumption soon enough for me to take advantage. So, add cruel irony to the list of age-related maladies.
Ahh well, such is life. Even though sights are dimmer and sounds are thinner for me I still get a kick out of understanding how we see and hear. Exploring the intricacies and limits of how we perceive the world can be fascinating, even more so with examples and tests that showcase aspects of our most treasured senses. Luckily for us there are two iOS apps that offer that and a lot more. And that's what I going to talk about this week. Both apps are from a company called Exploratorium and both are completely free! Times a-wasting so lets get to it.
Color Uncovered [64MB, iPad only, iOS 4.3 or later, Developer: Exploratorium]
It turns out that our eyes can be all too easily fooled. That's because while our eyes receive and initially process the light taken in by them, it is our brains that do the real heavy lifting when it comes to seeing. Our minds, then, can be tricked into seeing colors and shapes that are not really there, but we can also filter through a kaleidoscope of color to see what truly is present.
Great interface and fun tests abound
Color Uncovered is stuffed with examples that probe and test the limits of our visual perception then it goes on to explain, in layman's terms, why we see what we see, or don't.
Nothing is ever what you think
At first blush this app/e-book is just fun stuff to look at, but be careful, you might learn something. Each example focuses on a certain aspect of sight or color perception. Tap the "?" to get an explanation, which is often interactive as well.
The interface is very friendly, it doesn't require an Internet connection, and there's not an ad in the whole volume. What more could you ask for?
Sound Uncovered [332MB, iPad only, iOS 6.0 or later, Developer: Exploratorium]
How about a similar book that explores sound? You got it!
Sound Uncovered does for your ears what Color Uncovered does for your eyes. It lets you discover the intricacies of our sonic world. It's best to use headphones when using this app.
As with Color Uncovered, Sound Uncovered contains a multitude of videos, examples, and tests, each detailing a certain aspect of sound and how we perceive it. One particularly telling test tells you your approximate age based on how well you can hear certain frequencies. I'm unhappy to report that that test is pretty accurate.
Explanations are detailed, interactive, and easy to understand
Like the previous app, the interface in Sound Uncovered is a joy to use, the explanations are easy to understand, and there are enough information contained within to keep the curious occupied for a nice while. And, again, not an ad in sight.
Lots of stuff to play with
Both iPad only apps are excellent finds. So if you're looking for something with which to show off you new iPad mini, either or both should do the trick.
And that's a wrap for this week.
Be sure to check out this week's free App of the Week. It's the original Infinity Blade!!! Even if you're not a diehard gamer, Infinity Blade is worth a download just for its sheer beauty. The game is violent, but the interface is specifically designed to take advantage of a tablet's touch interface and is easy to use. At more than 600MB, the game is not small, but get it anyway.