“I swear I learned this once in school. Something about fusion and explosions. Yet for the life of me, aside from a few Lady Gaga musical montages, I can’t remember how a star is born. Luckily, I have Clio to help. She’s a tiny particle that, thanks to the program built with Apple’s ARKit on the iPad I’m holding, is showing me all over the galaxy. She got chased out of her nebula by a bully named Lewis and needs help. “I want to be a star—a gorgeous celestial star that illuminates the universe with beauty,” she says. “But Lewis says I’m too little.” We go on an adventure to confront her bully, seek the wise counsel of Red Giant, and (spoiler alert!) she becomes a star. The whole thing takes about 8 minutes—and takes me right back to science class.
This is intentional. Clio’s Cosmic Quest, the latest augmented reality experience from VR/AR company Within, is meant to help kids learn. It asks children questions and is designed to coax them into reading aloud. It turns any surface they’re near—a dining room table, a bunk bed, a park bench—into another galaxy and then explains how it was formed. It might be the best 8-minute astronomy lesson out there. It’s not alone…”