Better than X-Ray Glasses
There used to be ads in Superman comics for glasses that promised to give you X-Ray vision. I could never convince my parents to splurge on those, but I'm willing to bet that the Cuiscope Virtuali-Tee shirt (and Augmented Reality app), $29.99, come a lot closer to letting you see inside the human body.
Augmented Reality, or AR, has lots of advantages over Virtual Reality, not the least of which is that the cost of entry is much lower, because most of us already have the equipment in our pockets in the form of a smartphone. Some say that AR will ultimately be more important than Virtual Reality. While VR experiences require goggles of one sort or another, AR can work with nothing more than the camera on your smart phone, merging what it "sees" in the real world with a computer generated overlay. AR is also a natural for education, since the overlay can be used to explain, amplify, and supplement what our eyes are seeing by providing information and context.
The Virtuali-Tee, an augmented reality T-Shirt ($29.99), is a great introduction to this nascent technology. It is one of the most innovative STEM products of the year. The blue t-shirt has a Minecraft-like, blocky graphic on its front side that vaguely looks like a digital representation of your ribs and spine. You can view a video of the shirt in action here.
When you look at it through your smartphone (after downloading the app, of course) you can actually see the internal body parts under the shirt! You can peel away layers to view organs that are hidden. A "professor" voice-over narrates your visual exploration and there are even short movie clips that take you inside various organs, like inside the intestines!
You can even view the t-shirt (and your insides) using your phone's selfie mode, though it works a bit better when one person wears the shirt and the other examines.
The animated body parts are beautifully rendered, and using a t-shirt instead of a poster, makes this a bit of technological magic that won't get used once and then tossed away; it will be shared with friends and family stimulating intergenerational discussion (a plus at the holidays)! The shirt is available in sizes from kids to adult.
When I started to write about this cool Augmented Reality T-shirt, I was going to compare it to the transparency pages that let you peel off layer after layer of the human body in Compton's when I was a kid. But then I realized I'd have to explain that Compton's was a "children's encyclopedia". But, then I realized I'd have to explain to some younger parents that a "children's encyclopedia" was a set of books giving age-appropriate, curated articles on many subjects typically arranged alphabetically. But, then I realized I'd have to explain what books were, and I decided to move on to the next toy to review before I felt more like a dinosaur than a man.
By the way, if you'd like to see more AR in a different format, take a look at the book, Virtual Reality, available on Amazon.