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Best iPhone and iPad Projects of 2011


Another year of iPhone/iPad development but there haven’t been many apps that have caught our eye as there have been in the past. Nevertheless few that stood above the rest, both in their conception and how they make us think about technology. As an increasing number of apps saturate the AppStore, now in their 100s of thousands, we’d like to remain optimistic that this platform will continue to grow and not just by large development studios and those that reiterate but rather as an exciting, creative and above all – “innovative” place to push ideas to.

10. Composite [iPad, openFrameworks]

Inspired by the neo-dadaist collages of Robert Rauschenberg, James Alliban’s Composite allows you to remix your surroundings to create graphic compositions. Users can paint pictures using live video stream by simply pointing their iPad towards your subject drawing over it. Pixels are captured and transfered onto canvas. A different way of looking at painting.

9. Photo/Nykto [iPad, openFrameworks, Games]

Photo/Nykto is an experimental game conceived by Annelore Schneider and Douglas Edric Stanley as part of the “Unterplay” project at the Master Media Design —HEAD, Genève. Edric describes at as a game for nyktophobes and photophobes. It is played by switching on and off the lights in order to avoid reaching the edge of the screen. Photo/Nykto is one of the few apps that explores interaction with the device beyond the device itself. We like to think of it as “spatial interface” one that allows iPad to become an aggregator of physical activity.

Soon in the AppStore

8. Planetary [Cinder, iPad]

Created by the collective consisting of Ben Cerveny, Tom Carden, Jesper Sparre Andersen and Robert Hodgin, Planetary by Bloom is a way to explore your music collection using planetary system. Application, created using Cinder framework allows you to navigate dynamically created by information about the music on your iPad. Fly thorough the stars that represent your favourite artists, visit planets (albums) or listen to the moons (tracks).

7. Windosill [iPad, Games]

Previously available for Mac and Windows, we are glad to see Windosill by Patrick Smith (Vectorpark.com) finally make it’s way to the iOS.  An adventure puzzle game filled with peculiar objects, your task is to resolve abstract but yet logical puzzles to progress from room to room. For fans of the original, this is not just a simple port. The Windosill for the iPad was built as a native iOS app and customized the behavior of every element to the iPad’s touch interface. Bonus features include a sketchbook gallery of concept and development artwork, the option to instantly skip to any room you’ve already completed and two special settings, unlocked when you complete Windosill: Complex Gravity, which allows you to manipulate objects by tipping your iPad, and See-Thru Mode, which makes everything translucent (giving you a sneak-peek into how Windosill is put together). Fantastic addition to the AppStore.

6. OscilloScoop [iPhone, iPad, Sound]

Created by Scott Snibbe and Graham McDermott and originally designed by Lukas Girling, “OscilloScoop” is a culmination of about 15 years’ effort trying to create musical creation tools that is more like a video game. The process began back in the 90′s at a research lab when Scott Snibbe and Lukas Girling worked briefly with Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson on some of the concepts. The app, playfully called OscilloScoop, presents a trio of brightly colored stacked spinning crowns. Touching a crown trims or builds up its edge, like a spinning disk of clay. As you carve into this disc, the music changes, and you effortlessly produce hip hop, techno, electro, and other recognisable forms of music. Scott Snibble describes the process much like a DJ spinning records, but you create original music of your own, rather than merely cutting between tracks.

5. The Infinite Adventure Machine [MaxMSP, iPad]

The Infinite Adventure Machine by David Benqué is a computer program which generates fairy-tale plots. Based on the work of Vladimir Propp, who reduced the structure of russian folk-tales to 31 basic functions, the project addresses the difficulties of automatic story generation which David explains remain an unsolved problem for computer science.

Not available – Prototype

4. field [iPhone, iPad, openFrameworks, Sound]

Created by Rainer Kohlberger with sound by Wilm Thoben, field is an abstract audiovisual app that uses realtime camera feed as input. Brightness, saturation and color are interpreted, and translated into a constructed grid. The realtime image triggers different sounds as you pan around. Included are five different modes which you can switch through by double tapping the screen. Very addictive and playful take on  live video as medium to generate both visual and sound patterns.

3. Last Clock [iPad]

Originally created in 2002 by Jussi Ängeslevä and Ross Cooper when at the Royal College of Arts in London and developed for the iOS by NewMediology (Danqing Shi), Last clock is a clock app that uses popular slit scan technique to keep you in factual time, human time and remote time. Just like any other analog clock, the app has three hands: one for seconds, minutes and hours. The hands, however, are made of a slice of live video that gets scanned to the clockface. With different refresh rate for the three hands, the three time circles reflect the rhythms of the space at different temporal resolutions. The app also allows you to stream the last clock camera feed over the internet.

2. Sword & Sworcery EP [Games, iPhone, iPad]

The long awaited “21st century interpretation of the archetypical old school videogame adventure” by Superbrothers finally hit the AppStore this year. The response was amazing quickly became one of the most popular games of the year. If you haven’t had a chance to play with it, xmas break seems like a perfect opportunity. Easily the best iOS game this year.

1. Björk – Biophilia [iPhone, iPad, Sound]

Having seen many apps over the last few years, I don’t think anyone expected Biophilia. If you don’t know about it, is an iPhone/iPad release of Björk’s latest album created in collaboration with Scott Snibbe and her longtime design collaborators M/M (Paris). Comprising a suite of musical pieces and interactive artworks, Biophilia is a unique experience where different elements are weaved together with both sensitivity and precision. The experience is unified, building on different layers of visuals and sound. It’s a simple must! (Read also our special Making-of Virus)

  • Nigel Barber

    May I humbly add Tiltoria to this list: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tiltoria/id460391221?mt=8

    It’s based around a custom OpenGL engine for rendering antialiased vectors graphics 10x faster than Quartz. It’s free and universal.

  • The last clock project is truly amazing. Shows us the potentials of iOS Application Development.
    Even the infinite Adventure machine is something to look out for.