Toontastic 3D, Family Hub 2.0 and HoloLens

Google Launches a 3D Storytelling App

Google has launched a kid-friendly storytelling application, which allows children to draw their own characters, record their own voices, and then create exciting digital stories using one of the great looking, predefined environments.

Children who lack artistic abilities can also pick one or more of the funny looking characters that come bundled with the app, and then pick a soundtrack that perfects the scene, adding emotion and excitement to it.

But Toontastic 3D isn’t all about cartoony animations; children can also create great looking school reports for their projects with it. It’s definitely a huge improvement in comparison with the original Toontastic, which was created by Launchpad Toys, a startup that was bought by Google a few years ago.

The application can create short stories, which can have a length of up to 3 minutes, classic stories (up to five minutes) and science reports, which start with a question, which is then followed by several scenes which include experiments, results and conclusions.

According to the product manager, the app was built for children aged 6 to 13. Its goal is to inspire the kids, helping them become more creative. As an added bonus, a section of the app called the “idea lab” allows children to see and enjoy other kids’ creations.

If your children want to become film directors, teachers or game designers, you’d better show them this app asap. It may be that little spark which is powerful enough to ignite their future career.


Family Hub 2.0, the Refrigerator for Lonely People

I know how you feel: I am a lonely person too. And being lonely, the fridge (F) is one of my closest friends. We spend a lot of time together, F and I, especially when I feel blue.

Fortunately, the good guys at Samsung understand me better than anyone else. At least that’s what I think, because they’ve upgraded four of their Family Hub refrigerators, adding voice recognition features to them.

Yes! Now I can finally talk to my good old friend (F) without looking insane. And it’s a familiar process, because Samsung uses S Voice, which can be found in many of its smartphones, to power the voice recognition technology that’s being used in its refrigerators.

With Family Hub 2.0, you can ask the fridge how’s the weather. You can also tell it to play your favorite songs, edit your agenda, and… (drum roll) purchase the items that can be found on your shopping list!

The built-in camera allows you to see what’s inside the fridge without having to open the door. And the built-in browser allows you to access a huge array of web services, in addition to the growing collection of built-in fridge apps.


New Augmented Reality Application Helps Engineers Visualize Blueprints

Microsoft has partnered with the University of Cambridge to showcase a new HoloLens application, which can help engineers overlay a construction blueprint over a piece of land, turning it into a virtual building.

According to the researchers, Microsoft’s HoloLens can be used by engineers to evaluate progress and make their inspections much faster, because there isn’t any need for a physical inspection. Engineers can also take photos on site, bring them to their offices, and then overlay them onto a 3D building model to evaluate and determine any potential structure problems, for example.

This partnership demonstrates clearly that Microsoft wants to promote HoloLens as a serious tool which can be used by professionals, and not just by kids who love VR games.