Zappar the flaming elements

My issue of Education in Chemistry arrived today complete with a nice big poster of burning elemental symbols, each coloured to represent the actual flame test colour you get when burning lithium, barium, potassium etc. It is a promo for the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge Lower Sixth (C3L6).

But, this is no ordinary poster. Grab your iPad or iPhone and install the Zappar app, load up the Flaming Elements module and point the camera at the poster and the magic of augmented reality will see the elemental symbols burst into flames. Tap an element and the symbol spins to reveal periodic details, while a narrator tells you a little about the chemical in question. The previous stuff I’d seen demonstrated by Zappar at #Meerkats11 were purely entertainment, this implementation is both entertaining and educational.

You don’t even need the poster for the app to work. Just visit the Zappar page on your laptop or desktop and point your iOS camera at the screen and you’ll get the flames. I just tested it with the thumbnail on this page pointed at with an iPod camera and even that worked fine.

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One thought on “Zappar the flaming elements

  1. Apparently, this isn’t is as new as I’d thought it was. My friend Eileen Wilson alerted me to the fact that they used it at the Cambridge Science Festival last year

    http://comms.group.cam.ac.uk/sciencefestival/2011/03/07/popcode-brings-a-new-reality-to-the-science-festival/

    At the time the system was called Popcode rather than Zappar. Even so, the Zappar site says the flaming elements app was launched in November well after the science fes, which is a bit sneaky if it had actually been around much earlier in the year. Oh well.

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