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Brainapse

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Brainapse App Poster Image
Cool brain images, so-so learning experience.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn more about the brain and evolution.

Ease of Play

Overall navigation feels clunky, and use of AR in the quiz can be frustrating.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Brainapse is an augmented reality (AR) experience allowing kids to explore parts of the brain. There's also a local-area network multiplayer game. While kids on the younger end of the spectrum may enjoy exploring the brain models, the information provided (particularly around evolution) is more appropriate for a high school reading level. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

BRAINAPSE is an augmented reality educational experience designed to teach kids all about the brain. There are four sections. The first is an exploration of the brain in AR. Kids can see a skull and "peel back" layers to see what's inside as they learn about different areas of the brain and what they do. The second section focuses on evolution. Kids can choose from several skulls to learn about human evolution from the brain/skull of "Lucy" to our brains/skulls today. The third area covers the physiology of the brain and how brain cells communicate. Lastly, there's a quiz that kids can try, either single- or multiplayer in a local area. This AR quiz asks kids to find parts of the brain around a room and place them back into the brain model.

Is it any good?

The deep dive into the brain has some strengths and some challenges, leaving it a mixed bag for learning. There's no doubt that being able to look at a virtual model of the brain is fascinating. The chance to zoom in, rotate, and even see the various parts is pretty cool. The use of AR in the process isn't always smooth, but it's OK. That same AR is a real problem in the quiz game, though. Kids need to be in an area with enough light and surface for the app to display a number of different brain parts. It could detract from the learning because it's possible that the part you're looking for just isn't displaying correctly. Beyond the AR, there are still a number of ups and downs. The section on how the brain communicates is dazzling to look at, while the part on evolution includes pages and pages of dense text. The quiz could use additional elements: When kids tap on a brain part as a possible answer, the name of the part isn't shown. They're simply told if they are correct or incorrect. There's a lot of good to be found in Brainapse, and it may be worth the purchase for anyone who is studying the brain, but some parts are smarter than others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about evolution and how it's presented in Brainapse. How do animals evolve over time? Why? How do scientists track those changes?

  • Talk about brains. What are some of the parts of the brain? What do they do?

App details

For kids who love biology and augmented reality apps

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