If the popularity of the Jurassic Park movies is any indication, there’s a healthy interest in dinosaurs among all age groups. That was put to the test when I started reviewing the PlayShifu Orboot Dinos AR globe. Don’t get me wrong, but the globe is intended for those in the age group of 4-8 years. But could it sustain the interest someone from my age group, who generally deal with mid-life crisis?
I opened the box to find a globe featuring an artistic impression of the world as it was in the Mesozoic age, with inhabitants of each land mass from 60 million years ago. The dinosaur theme is carried on to the base of the globe: flip it over, and you see the pattern of a dinosaur paw. The box also comes with an activity book with stickers. But all that can happen only after the kids have learnt about dinosaurs from the globe.
To understand the AR capabilities of the globe, one has to download the free Orboot Dino AR app. I did so on the OPPO Reno4 (it took some time as it’s a 600+ MB download) , and it invited me to set up a parent account, and then set the level of the child, from pre-K to Grade 6. The initial screen offers DinO’ Clock Adventures with the mischievous Jay; Who’s That Dino? which invites you to find the dinosaur species on the globe, and as soon as it is found, an AR image pops up on the screen. What is interesting is that the talking dino tells you how to pronounce its name and where it is from—albeit the present country which occupies the landmass that was its home in the Jurassic age. For example, the Allosaurus lived in the U.S. and Portugal. The third option, and the one I found most interesting was AR Explore, wherein you need to match a star ‘star’ on the phone screen to that on the globe. Point it right, and you have a dinosaur jumping out of the screen. A caveat: This works best with a single-camera setup, as I found to my chagrin.
With 400+ dino facts to be explored, there’s lots that I am yet to explore about the Mesozoic Era, and I look forward to that. But I’m not the one this globe is meant for. For children stuck at home, this is a nice way to teach them about dinosaurs and potentially grow their interest in science. The globe did hold my attention, but will it be able to keep children engaged in the midst of all distractions? It is certainly worth a try.