The Merge Cube is the latest product to market augmented reality experiences for kids. It is being sold at Walmart for $14.97 – although it looks like it is already out of stock. Beore purchasing it, you should know that you will need a smartphone or tablet to download the apps for the cube. Merge Goggles can also be used, but are not required as long as you have an app-enabled device. If you have Google Cardboard, you can use it with the Merge Cube. However, the Merge Goggles have a special cut-out specifically designed for use with the cube that helps to make the experience more immersive.
I have not used this product yet, so I can’t give you a full review (you can see one here by “Dad Does”). It looks like it has educational as well as entertainment applications. According to the website, there is a “Mr. Body” experience and “Galactic Explorer”. The Merge Cube is being marketed as “the hologram you can hold in your hand.” It reminds me of Daqri’s Elements 4D Cubes, but it is actually one cube designed for multiple apps – and developers are being invited to submit more.
Merge has several products out there, including its Merge Goggles. You can visit the Merge Miniverse site to see games and YouTube 360 videos that are compatible.
I like the idea of the flexibility (since VR glasses require phones and all I have are tablets in my classroom), and will be curious to see what other educational uses come out of this relatively affordable product. Like many ed-tech options, the novelty may attract your students, but it is up to educators to determine if it is a tool that will deepen learning.
For other Augmented Reality Resources for Education, check out this page.