HarperCollins and BBC Team Up on 3D Tour-of-Universe App



Take a mind-blowing 3D tour of the Universe with Professor Brian Cox as your guide.

Never before has the sheer breadth of the Universe been opened up for interactive exploration and our place within it made so vividly clear.

Journey up from the smallest particles, past the moons and planets of the Solar System, out through the Oort Cloud to the Milky Way, past our Local Stars and out to distant galaxies before arriving, finally at the edge of the known Universe.

On the way you will encounter the likes of seething Red Giants, beautiful Nebulae, pulsing Neutron stars and confront a daunting vision of a Black Hole sucking down a hapless star, all rendered in spectacular 3D.

Take Brian’s tours of the Solar System and the Universe, or jet off on your own free-style space mission to discover what Wonders are out there waiting for you.

Professor Brian Cox provides mind-expanding insight in over 200 articles pinned to the various stars, planets and wonders within the app, written in his clear and accessible style and accompanied by two and a half hours of video from the BBC TV series Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe.

This means that beyond the impact of a 3D Universe at your fingertips, you’ll come to understand where we came from, how we got here and where we’re going as the destiny of the Universe plays out.

App published by Collins in collaboration with the BBC

The app is published by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins with a track record of disseminating words and ideas through beautiful books, now extended to beautiful digital products. Collins, who published official tie-in books for the BBC series Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe, conceived the app and brokered a partnership with the BBC to include two and a half hours of video in the app, extending their conventional publishing relationship.

Alex Gatrell, digital publisher for Collins, says: “Brian Cox’s Wonders Of The Universe app is heaven-sent for fans of astronomy and of Brian Cox, but also meets a growing public thirst for knowledge in the astro-physics field. We’ve set a new frontier for digital publishing by positioning Brian’s written narrative and related BBC video content in a bespoke 3D environment which changes dynamically as you journey deeper and deeper into the realms of the Universe, making for a jaw-dropping product that can be enjoyed on several levels.”

The Technology Behind the App from the OTHER media:

Collins partnered with London development agency the OTHER media to design and build Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe app. The app benefits from two innovative technologies:

A powerful 3D engine capable of handling high resolution textures and complex animations has been created exclusively for iOS5 and takes full advantage of the new iPad’s graphic engine and the superior display and processing power of the new iPad. Rather than developing 3D models on the desktop in a simulated environment, this development interface allows you to craft the 3D models directly within the iPad app itself, meaning what you see in the development environment is truly what you get in the app.

The full text from the Collins books Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe books, by Professor Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen, is contained in a revolutionary publishing platform. Glide Publisher creates a simple, scrollable column of text that introduces rich media elements – video, image galleries and interactive infographics – at appropriate moments in the narrative. Videos and images expand as you glide, without the need to press play or a full screen button.

George Crabb, MD of the OTHER media, says: “Brian Cox’s contribution to the understanding of the universe has been immense and we wanted to use his television and publishing contributions to deliver something truly ground-breaking for the iPad. So we threw out conventional thinking on multimedia experiences to instead come up with a revolutionary platform that can take complex narratives but deliver them with an intuitive clarity.”

Key Points:

•    Expandable Universe – explore objects within Sub-atomic, Atomic, Solar System, Local Stars, Milky Way, Galaxies, and Universe.

•    Pinch to zoom and grasp the magnitude of the universe and our place within it.

•    Full text from Collins books Wonders of the Universe and Wonders of the Solar System by Professor Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen.

•    Two-and-a-half hours of BBC video from the Wonders TV series (requires wifi).

•    High resolution images optimised for the new iPad’s superior screen resolution.

•    The app launches on 22nd March 2012 (pending apple approval)

•    The promotional launch price is £4.99 ($6.99 USD)

•    An iPhone version will follow at a lower price point.

About Professor Brian Cox:

Professor Brian Cox OBE is a particle physicist, a Royal Society research fellow, and a professor at the University of Manchester as well as researcher on one of the most ambitious experiments on Earth, the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. He is best known to the public as a science broadcaster and presenter of the highly popular BBC2 series Wonders of the Solar System, Wonders of the Universe and Star Gazing Live. He was also keyboard player in the UK pop band D:Ream in the 1990s.


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