While educational 3-D materials for projectors are few and far between, zSpace can get kids to learn about science, engineering and technology in all three dimensions with its zSpace 200 workstation. You can work and interact with virtual holograms of everything from a set of gears or levers to the dissection of a frog or how the heart works. Students manipulate, rotate and zoom-in and -out of models that appear to float in space in front of the screen with a tethered pen. The company’s Gallery has over 500 3-D models that pertain to architecture, engineering and zoology while the Studio modeling software is for students and teachers to build their own 3-D worlds along with tools for measuring what’s going on.
It’s never a good idea to mix electronics and liquids, unless they are Rapoo’s latest wireless keyboard and mouse combo. The X1800 set connects with a computer via a 2.4GHz link and is spill resistant. Available through Canada Computers, it costs $20 and its battery should be able to run for a year.
The Protag Duet tag is so smart that it cannot only alert you that you’ve left your phone behind, but your bag as well. Inside the plastic tag is an RFID chip, speaker and just enough electronics to sound the alarm when it and your phone get separated. Plus, it can find your phone, either by pressing Duet to make the phone ring – even if the phone is set to silent – or by tracking its location. The $29 device works with Android and iPhones.
Casio’s FX-9860G2 scientific calculator not only now has a backlit screen for better viewing, but can be had in a variety of colors, including pink, blue or white. Designed for grades six through graduation, the calculator has a built-in spreadsheet program that can help with science classroom lab work and business assignments. It can work with statistics, conversions, regressions as well as a variety of graphing tasks. The calculator costs about $80.
The name iLoud says it all. It’s the wireless speaker that puts the emphasis on high quality volume. The $300 sound system has a 40-watt amplifier and inputs for musical instruments as well as the ability to connect with tablets and phones via Bluetooth. No bigger than a dictionary, it delivers rich full sound and the ability to fill a room with audio.
Speakers don’t need to be big and bulky anymore because NudeAudio’s Super-M can fit lots of audio into a pocket-sized case. Despite its size, Super-M connects to any tablet or phone via Bluetooth, sends out audio in a 360-degree pattern of rich sound and is waterproof; it even has a string so that the speaker can be hung on a hook. Inside, the speaker has four Neodymium drivers as well as a pair of passive radiators, yet fits into a pocket. It’s available for pre-orders on KickStarter for $99 with an anticipated August delivery.
Regardless of its source, kids can listen to audio lessons, podcasts and video wirelessly with Califone’s 901 Wireless Headphone. Rather than the headphones connecting directly with the source, they work via a small connection box that plugs into a headphone jack. The set’s batteries should be good enough for a full school day of listening and has a 20-foot range so that students can listen in different parts of the room. It costs $59.50.
Connecting and powering up computers will get a lot easier with Bretford’s Juice system that allows schools to incorporate AC outlets or USB plugs and network connections into many of their tables. The power module has flip up outlets that fold away when not needed and up to eight tablets can be daisy chained with an innovative cable that has a magnetic connector.
If your school’s Chromebooks have had trouble keeping up with tough tasks, Acer’s latest C720 model has a fourth generation Core i3 processor that’s at least 50 percent more powerful than the Atoms, Celerons and Pentiums that power Chromebooks. The system uses a 40005U model that runs at 1.7GHz and you can order it with 2- or 4GB of RAM and 32GB of solid state storage for $350 or $380. The system still has a 1,366 by 768 11.6-inch screen, WiFi, Bluetooth and a good assortment of ports.
If STEM education seems, well, a little flat, zSpace has the answer: a 3-D education zone that puts the emphasis on science and technology. The system consists of a 24-inch monitor that requires a pair of polarizing 3-D glasses to get the 3-D effect. Not only do items appear to come out of the screen, but you can control and rotate them with the included electronic pen. The company’s STEM Lab is just as good for simulating the dissection of a frog as it is for showing Newton’s laws of motion or designing electric circuits. The system requires a high-end PC and costs about $60,000 for 12 screens and computers.