Gadgets and Apps – Welcome to the Future of Travel

Travel’s facelift for the 21st century has been radical and far-reaching. Skype and wifi have replaced the ritual of calling home by feeding endless foreign coins into a phone box, updating your Facebook status is the new postcard, and travellers are increasingly likely to use ‘augmented reality’ rather than have a guidebook tucked under their arm.

If anything, the pace of change continues to quicken – exciting, sometimes mind-boggling innovations are appearing all the time, meaning how we interact with places and people keeps on evolving. Below are some of our favourite gizmos and gadgets.

iLingual

A phrasebook like no other – download the iLingual app, take a photo of your mouth, the app then has over 400 phrases your mouth can ‘say’. Cue the odd sight of travellers holding their iphones in front of their actual mouths as the screen ‘talks’. Watch a video for this app – a demo is better than any written explanation. Only a few languages on offer at the moment, but it can’t be long until iPhone-bearded travellers are pow-wowing in Swahili on the Serengeti savannah.

Word Lens

Very Star Trek this one, another app for those struggling with mastering a foreign language. Word Lens only currently translates English-Spanish, but it’s a neat idea and could be genuinely useful. All you need to do is aim your iPhone camera at some printed text and Word Lens translates it in realtime. You need never struggle over a foreign language newspaper again (or at least not a Spanish language one).

Google goggles

Google goggles may just be the biggest game-changer of all. It’s still in its infancy, but the image recognition software is looking a pretty awesome and versatile travel tool. Here’s how it works: you’re strolling around a city, or a museum or gallery, you take a snap of something you want to know more about it, if Google recognises the subject of the image it will bring up search results. Cue instant expertise and a handy tool for appearing knowledgeable about, well, everything – from sourcing well-reviewed restaurants to enabling you to wax expertly on, say, pre-Incan Peruvian art. In other words, this may be the ultimate dating tool.

World Customs

We always give people who travel with us with plenty of tips and guidance about local cultures and etiquette in foreign countries, so this app is right up our street. Pick your country and then you’ll be presented with a load of helpful info on the destination – from law & order to religious etiquette to taboos. Great for sorting out your do’s from your don’ts.

And a couple of lower-tech gadgets we like…

Solar-powered LED light and water bottle cap

This one looks genuinely good doesn’t it? Mixing water and electricity perhaps isn’t intuitively clever, but the sealing means you’ve got nothing to worry about, and the light is supposed to be decent enough for a tent lantern. The idea of a solar-powered torch may lead cynics to snipe about artificial light being a little redundant if the sun is beating down, but ignore them – this has a good charge, is cheap, light and saves space, and is environmentally intelligent.

The daddy of all Swiss Army Knives

A supercharged multi-tool that looks like it’s on steroids. 87 tools on offer, including – at last! – a golf shoe spike wrench. All that’s missing is a flux capacitor. This one kilo treat fits snugly into your pocket, providing your pocket is 30cm long. A snip at nearly $1000AUD, plus postage, which presumably bumps the final price tag up a bit, not least because the instruction manual must run to a couple hundred pages.

Types of Online Games for Kids

The internet has created an easy platform for gaming, something that even children have no problem figuring out and using daily. It can be accessed from nearly anywhere in the world with the right types of satellites or wireless devices. The games are relatively simply, but they come in all sorts of types so that kids can use them for many different purposes. Some of them are so advanced that adults will love them as well. The following are a few of the different types of online games for kids that can be found on the internet very quickly.

1. Games For Young Children

Some of the most simplistic games on the internet are aimed at young children who are still learning the basics about many different aspects of life. This is truly a shock to some parents who still do not fully understand the way that the internet works, but children who have grown up with it are able to find their way around with ease. These games will often ask children to match colors or do simple math.

2. Educational Games

There are more advanced educational games as well, and these are a great tool to use for children who are not fond of learning in a traditional classroom setting. Some of these include trivia games. The children will be asked to answer questions on their way to performing other tasks or just for the sake of answering the questions themselves. While some children may not enjoy this, others will find that playing a trivia game on a computer is much more fun that taking a test in class.

3. Games Based On Television Shows and Movies

Some of the most popular online games for kids are based on television shows and movies that the children already love. These games allow them to become the characters and take part in their world, something that every child does with his or her imagination while watching a movie but which could not be done in such a full-fledged manner without these games. The action will sometimes follow the plots of the movies or shows, allowing children to play through the same story lines. Other times the games will use the same characters while being unrelated to the movies themselves — the game might ask the child to answer trivia questions, for example, while playing as the character from a cartoon.

4. Problem-Solving Games

Still other games will force the children to use their natural problem-solving abilities. These games will often present puzzles or riddles that the children will have to work out before they can move on. These may ask them to perform tasks in a certain order, for instance, giving hints as to what the order may be and then asking them to work it out for themselves. This can be helpful in intellectual development.

5. Games Just For Fun

Finally, there are games just for fun. Some of the old games for the Nintendo Entertainment System have now been released online. These may not help children with intellectual gain, but they can still help them to relax, to have fun, and to build their imaginations.

Play Fun Online Games for Kids

As we know, play is a child’s work that is why it is important that we choose games that are fun and educational at the same time. Today, almost every household has a computer and internet connection. It is not surprising that kids are on the computer or are learning how to operate one. They are born in a generation wherein having a computer is a necessity and it is important they learn how to use this at an early age.

One of the games that can benefit your child is typing games. You can find a number of free typing games online or there are some that require a license fee for a small amount. These games are a great learning tool for your child. Not only is it fun but it can enrich your child’s mind in various ways. If a child is learning how to read, this can familiarize him with letters, phrases and spelling. It can also help him learn numbers too. For the young child, this can help him in improving his fine motor skills because he is using his fingers to hit the keys. The music and playful graphics can really enhance his auditory and visual skills. This is also a good way for you to bond with your kids.

There are other online games that are available for kids. Again, this can be free of charge or you can get downloadable software for a minimal fee. You can get matching games wherein you can match the number to the set of fish. For bigger kids, games on geography, history and science are available. Make sure that these games are grade-appropriate and will suit your child’s ability. Games where you grow a virtual farm or a virtual aquarium are gaining popularity today. However, these are for older kids and for adults too.

All it takes is to search for “online games” on your browser and you see hundreds of matches. Keep in mind that these can be addicting, so make sure that you monitor your child’s playing time on the computer. Before anything else, always check the games first and make sure that the graphics are age appropriate.