Shifu Orboot is a knowledge-building toy for children. Using augmented reality, it helps children learn not just names of countries, their capitals and cities but also explore local culture, monuments, animals, and more.
Shifu Orboot is primarily a globe that comes to life with the Orboot app. Unlike a traditional globe that has borders and names of countries and popular cities, this one has a graphical representation of the regions along with visuals depicting cultures, monuments, animals, weather, and more. For instance, India was represented with Taj Mahal, a Kathakali dance figure, a tiger and more. All countries have a 'star' icon which audio-visually shares a lot of information about the country. For instance, when pointed the camera at the Taj Mahal icon on the globe, a 3D image of the same appeared on the phone's display. A tap on the image triggered display of more information. In all, over 400 highlights and 1,000 facts are available.
The app isn't just restricted to the icons on the globe. It has other interactive modes too. 'Mysteries with Shifu' has close to nine interactive lessons such as the ancient wonders' quest, the Russian adventure, trip to Asia, the crown jewel and the desert adventure. Using onscreen clues, the camera has to be pointed at the graphical representation on the globe that helps in exploring new places.
While exploring cultures, I learned about the Thai Songkran Water Festival, and the Harbin Ice and Snow festival celebrated in China. There are quizzes to be played and an Oko National Park that can be explored.
Frankly, without the Orboot app, the globe isn't of any use. The Orboot app works smoothly on both Android and Apple devices. While the app works well enough on a smartphone, the experience is far superior on the big display of an iPad.
The globe's build quality is nice. It comes with a 'passport' that can be filled in and stamped when one is through with a particular country.
Shifu Orboot is an addictive learning tool. Once a child gets the hang of Orboot, she is likely to continue exploring. With parents concerned about reducing the screen time of their kids, Shifu Orboot can convert the existing screen time into a productive and educational one.