Skip to main content

WWF Free Rivers app puts a virtual landscape on any flat surface

Image used with permission by copyright holder

App Attack is a weekly series where we search the App Store and Google Play Store for the best apps of the week. Check out App Attack every Sunday for the latest.

The launch of Apple’s latest 9.7-inch iPad has spawned a variety of new educational apps. This week we have an app that allows you to learn more about the environment straight through your smartphone using augmented reality.

Presented at Apple’s Education event in Chicago, WWF Free Rivers Augmented Reality — available for iOS — places an entire landscape at your kitchen table (or wherever else you prefer). By simply pointing your camera at a flat surface, you’re able to explore an entire world of wildlife, people, and rivers.

After downloading the app, getting started is super simple. All you have to do is find a flat surface that’s well-lit in order for the program to recognize where you’re placing the landscape. The entire scene then appears on the table and you’re able to zoom in, move around, and learn all about nature.

As you discover all the elements, you can tap on each one to get more information. This includes anything from the actual bodies of water to the different animals and people. You’re able to follow along the “water’s journey” as you follow the story through your smartphone.

The interface is easy to navigate by swiping around and tapping on whatever you’d like. Whenever you want to learn about a specific element, a small bubble will appear that provides you with a brief description. By zooming in and moving your smartphone, you can explore all sides of the landscape.

With each scene, you’ll have a various amount of things to see — for instance, I had eight different parts that I could go through before completing the entire run. At the bottom of the app, there’s a counter that that keeps track of how many you’ve found throughout your time on the app. Once you’re done learning about a specific part, simply tap the check mark and the counter will go up.

As I tapped through each sight, I was able to gain insight on actual people — such as “Rice Farmer/Mother,” whose home in the delta becomes increasingly vulnerable when climate changes and sea rise. There’s also another “Farmer” who, in the dry season, plants along the river in the soil that the floods leave behind.

Aside from human figures, I was also able to learn about the historical importance of the rivers for people. For example, one part of the app brings you to the “Chief,” who explains how his ancestors have lived alongside the river for years, relying on the water for not only food, but also for its beauty.

When you continue on through the app, you get to learn more as you go. Other habitats include tropical jungles, the African Savannah, the South Asian deltas, and more. Within each one, you’ll also be able to learn about the river that flows through and how it affects each person and the wildlife around it.

Not only was the experience educational and interesting, but the graphics were great to look at as well. Regardless of whether you pointed it at the floor or a table, the landscapes looked bright and vivid on the display. While I tried it with a smartphone, the larger display on the iPad will only make it look more beautiful and immersive.

Brenda Stolyar
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brenda became obsessed with technology after receiving her first Dell computer from her grandpa in the second grade. While…
Best Samsung Galaxy S22 deals: Save big on unlocked models
The back of the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus.

For a couple of years now the Samsung Galaxy S22 has made for some of the best phone deals you can shop. This includes both the Galaxy S22 and its big brother in the lineup, the Samsung Galaxy S22+. These phones have been out for a little while now, and they’re getting more and more difficult to find brand new. We’ve managed to find a few deals available on both the Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22+, however, and there are several ways to save on refurbished models out there. We’ve rounded up all of the best Samsung Galaxy S22 deals taking place at a number of different retailers, so read onward for all of the details on how to save.
Samsung Galaxy S22 deals at Samsung

Samsung isn’t currently carrying very many older models of the Samsung Galaxy S phone. You’ll find some newer models like the recently released Samsung Galaxy S24 there, but if you’re looking for something from the S22 model lineup all you’ll find is a Galaxy S22 renewed model. It’s offering some great savings, however, as you can claim it for just $679 with up to $300 in trade-in savings.

Read more
Best Apple Watch deals: Series 9 and Ultra 2 discounted
Someone wearing an Apple Watch Ultra 2, showing the Modular Ultra watch face.

The Apple Watch has become one of the best smartwatches on the market. And while Apple deals are traditionally somewhat difficult to come by, the Apple Watch has always been a good Apple product to turn to for some savings. That’s certainly the case right now, as some of the best smartwatch deals are on various Apple Watch models, and several models are offering substantial savings. From the Apple Watch Ultra 2 to older Apple Watch models that come in at relatively low prices, we’ve tracked down all of the best Apple Watch deals taking place right now. Read onward and you’ll find plenty of details on how to save, as well as some information on which Apple Watch may best suit your needs.
Best Apple Watch SE deals

The first-generation Apple Watch SE, which was released in 2020, and the second-generation Apple Watch SE, which was rolled out in 2022, are the most affordable ways of getting an Apple Watch. They don't give up too much in order to keep costs low compared to their more expensive peers though. The Apple Watch SE 2, in particular, still provides comprehensive fitness tracking features, a comfortable fit, and excellent software as it can be updated to Apple's latest watchOS 10.

Read more
Best Samsung tablet deals: Discounted tablets as low as $184
Recent apps view on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.

Samsung makes a huge lineup of quality yet affordable tablets, many of them in competition to be among the best tablets, and many more often found among the best tablet deals. With a wide set of prices ranging from budget to premium, a Samsung tablet makes a great investment for almost anyone who enjoys the touchscreen form factor. There are quite a few Samsung tablet deals worth shopping right now, and we’ve done the heavy lifting of tracking down the best. Among them you’ll find discounts on the likes of the budget tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite and the high-end tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab S9. So whichever end of the tablet spectrum you fall on, or if you land anywhere in between, read onward for more details on the best Samsung tablet deals available right now.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $184, was $230

If you need a bigger screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is another solid budget option. It is 10.5 inches and runs a much better 1920 x 1200 resolution, which also makes it a better option for watching content. It does have a much smaller capacity at 32GB, although you can always expand it with a MicroSD, so it's not a dealbreaker. That said, the 3GB of RAM is very much within the limits of what's going to give you a smoother experience, but it's the sort of compromise you deal with when going for a larger screen at a budget price.

Read more