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Feature Review

Everything Machine, The
Price: $2.99
Runs on: iPad
Ages: 6-up
For grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Teaches: creativity, logic, STEM, electronics, circuits, robotics
Turn the power of your iPad inside out, with this second in Tinybop’s Digital Toys series of open-ended building apps. The first was The Robot Factory, and of the two, we like this one much more.

The idea is a good one -- to give children pretty much unvarnished control over the technology inside an iPad or iPhone. That means the microphone, cameras, accelerometers and bluetooth connections.

The app comes with a simple drag and drop programing language and tutorials, making it easy to make a motion or sound activated camera, for example.

The tool box includes all sorts of items and functions that can be freely mixed and matched on a white screen. There are camera filters, voice distorters, sound and light detectors, timers, and color changers... we counted 48 total. So you can have your iPad's camera watching for a face, for example. If it recognizes one, it takes a picture and starts a disco beat, providing you've included a speaker as an output option. See also Tinkerblocks.

There are some minor kinks. Getting the items to "stick" using the elastic bands takes some getting used to, and some of the navigation icons feel cryptic. But after you make your first timer or light bulb dimmer, you learn that it is possible to combine many different functions; giving you a lot of power. You can attach transmitters and receivers to link to other devices... including the Apple Watch.

You start with battery, on a blank screen. Next, you can choose from six inputs (camera, microphone, recorder, image, sound and wavemaker); four controls (toggle, button, timer and slider); eight detectors (face, color, light, motion, sound, closeness, tilt and shake) and eight more modifiers (color shifter, mirror, kaleidoscope, pixelator, echo, speed changer, pitch changer and inverter); three routers (transmitter/reciever and Apple Watch) and four logic gates (and, or, xor and not); and 16 outputs (counter, lightboard, waveform, RGB light, speaker, type talker, video player, voltmeter, vibration, fan, flashlight, lightbulb, sound catcher, video saver, timelapser and Photokeeper.

The following Apple technologies are listed: iOS Frameworks + Plugins, AVFoundation (video + audio), Audio Units, MultipeerConnectivity, Core Animation, OpenGL, CoreImage, and WatchKit. The idea is if adult programmers can have these tools, why not kids? Here's the introduction video.

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CTR Sep 15 Feature Review Entered 08/11/2015 by Warren Buckleitner, Modified 12/13/2016 by LD