Technology TED-Ed

Bill Nye’s video game AERO lets you fly like a bird while learning about physics

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Ever wanted to fly like a bird? The 3D video game AERO not only gives you a chance to see what it’s like to flap your wings and take off — it also teaches the principles of physics at the same time. In the game, which was developed with the help of TED-Ed speaker Bill Nye (watch his talk “Sending a sundial to Mars”), the player is an albatross exploring the caves and islands of a beautiful oceanic world. While you play, you get lessons on aerodynamic principles like lift, drag, thrust, and terminal velocity. The game even has a molecular view, so the player can fully understand how flight works.

GameDesk developed a prototype of the game in partnership with Iridescent Learning, the National Academy of Sciences and the Office of Naval Research. Bill Nye stepped in to help with the science, and the makers of the game took six months to make sure that the albatross simulations were spot on. GameDesk also took the game on the road to schools, to make sure it fully resonated with kids.

AERO has taken to Kickstarter to raise money to integrate more challenges and features into the game.

If they raise $100,000 they can have the game out on the iPad next year. If they raise $1 million, they plan to introduce the game on Android and X-Box Kinect as well, and to bring it to schools across the country on iPad minis. As of this morning, the project had 492 backers offering up $7K.