April 4, 2012
When I first read the description of MagicReader, I thought it was just too good to be true. A reading app for iPad that flips pages with just a turn of your head? No way. But then I remembered that the iPad has a front camera, and the app must be using it to detect faces and the necessary head movements. I was right. MagicReader lets you go through books and other reading materials without having to use your hands or fingers. The app uses face detection to register your head's position and perform the flipping actions corresponding to your head's lateral movements. I find that the app doesn't always respond with every head turn, in which case the app recommends moving to a spot with better lighting to allow the camera to improve its face detection. Of course, if your hands are not tied, you can just tap either side of the screen to flip the pages manually. As demonstrated in the rather ingenious trailer below, you can use MagicReader for a variety of purposes. You can read notes on it as you rehearse a song on your guitar, you can use it to propose to your girlfriend and make her say yes with it (inadvertently), you can read your favorite magazines on it while you're taking care of your baby, and you can even let your baby browse children's books on it. If you can't see the video embedded above, please click here. MagicReader supports PDF and Zip files as well as .jpg, .png, .gif., .tiff, and .bmp image files. Oddly, the app is currently not compatible with the two most popular e-book formats, EPUB (which is supported by iBooks) and MOBI (which is supported by Kindle). An ad-supported app, MagicReader is available now in the App Store for free.