AT Friday: Fun with Engineering

While iPad may be a convenient tool to read news or contact friends, it is also a powerful tool to learn about engineering in an entertaining way. The app TinkerBox (by AutoDesk) has taken advantage of the high resolution and sensitivity of the iPad screen to transform the mechanical engineering learning into an addictive game experience.

After downloading the free app from Apple Store and opening the app, you will see a concise interface with different mechanical engineering equipment as background.

There are two main components of the app, “puzzles” and “invent”. To get familiar with how it works, the puzzles would be a great place to start. Here, you can challenge yourself with pre-designed mechanical quizzes by applying your engineering knowledge or intuition. Thanks to the very realistic simulation of physical conditions including gravity and newton’s laws, the puzzles are great tools to train the user as a engineer. For instance, you will be challenged to adjust the angle and position of a solid board to guide an iron ball into the targeted basket. The quizzes starts from the easiest and gets harder gradually. You will also be exposed to challenges in the lab, steel mill, the machine, or even space station and beyond.

The more educational functionality of the app lies in its “Invent” option. Here, you can selects all sorts of equipment to construct your own mechanical lab. The touch screen makes the process very engaging and convenient. After expanding your creativity, you can test the environment you have constructed to learn about how physical laws should govern motion of objects in real life. Without going to a real lab, you are doing experiment. It could also be a great tool for people working on the design of real mechanical projects, as the product of AutoDesk tries its best to stick to physics. You can also load invention made by other people to be inspired by their innovative ideas, such as mechanical mouse trap or even a mechanical car.

In a word, this is definitely an great iPad app to learn and have fun.


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