Unless you just got home from your 2nd grader’s parent-teacher conference (and/or have a study that smells of rich mahogany and many leather bound books), the odds are good you haven’t seen a globe in a while. Much like that old Rand McNally Road Atlas you use to keep in the car for road trips, they’ve pretty much been done in by the internet. Which is why the idea of somebody going all-in on a new ‘smart’ globe for the 21st century is pretty darn exciting. (You know, assuming you like globes.)
Orboot is a 10-inch orb that uses augmented reality to teach kids stuff about the world that otherwise would have had to have been printed in reeeeeallly tiny print, and probably in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. All they do is point a tablet or smartphone at the globe (after giving it a wild spin, of course) and the accompanying app/camera’s AR technology will take them on a journey of learning.
In addition to info on all 196 of the world’s countries, there are hundreds of pieces of 3D content across 8 categories: from monuments, inventions, culture, and animals, to language & arts, nature’s wonders, weather, and cuisine. There are fun activities to play (i.e. feed the elephant!), “voiceovers and local music,” audio stories, and even fun facts about events like Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras, although whether you want them asking questions about Mardi Gras is another story.
And if you’re thinking, “Who would want a globe anyway (even it has AR)?”, the answer is a lot of people: Orboot spun through its Kickstarter in only 4 days and is fully funded with a month to go. For $29, you’ll get a globe and 3 app categories (animals, monuments, and food), or you can drop $35 for all 8 categories. And the best part, it’ll be at your door by August — just in time to help you impress your son’s new 3rd-grade teacher at that next parent-teacher conference. (Available August 2017)