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This Kickstarter project lets you experience the majesty of Earth in the palm of your hands

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You've got the whole world in your hands — literally.
You’ve got the whole world in your hands — literally.

Image: Alex daly

Fun fact: We all live on this planet! 

Although we call Earth our home, it’s shocking that we know so little about it. It would be like not knowing the ins-and-outs of your own apartment or house. But thanks to this new Kickstarter campaign, the tech company AstroReality wants to show everyone almost everything about this planet with an immersive model that is simply called EARTH.

The San Francisco-based company created a finely-molded model of the planet. The model includes deeply detailed versions of the oceans, landmass, and mountains with precision 3D printing from poly resin materials that was hand-painted with eco-friendly paint.

It uses augmented reality via a companion app that is fully interactive to tell the story of Mother Earth from the past, present, and future. And with the app, which will be compatible with Android and iOS devices, you can watch how the world has changed throughout history from six categories, including animals, plants, geology, environmental, humanities, and meteorology. 

“We wanted to display this idea through the most advanced technology to enable an experience unlike any other.” -Joanne Dai, AstroReality co-founder

For example: If you wanted to see what an animal’s migration and habitation patterns were like up to around 550 million years ago, you’d point your smartphone’s camera at the model and select the category to learn how Humpback Whales migrated to the Pacific during the winter of 1776. If you wanted to know the weather patterns during the Paleozoic era, or how much carbon dioxide was in the planet’s atmosphere during the Cambrian explosion, EARTH’s got your back. It even gives you a detailed look at the world’s Crust, Mantle, and Outer and Inner Core too.

“Our Mother Earth has been changing over the time,” said Joanne Dai, co-founder of AstroReality. “While we now have access to satellite photos and videos from NASA or elsewhere here and there to see our planet, we rarely realize the impact behind Earth’s changes. EARTH is an inspiration from that idea. We wanted to display this idea through the most advanced technology to enable an experience unlike any other.” 

The app, which will be supported in English and Chinese, also has smart voice and artificial intelligence technology built-in called “Gaea,” which is powered by Microsoft LUIS. So if you have a question about falling meteors from 500 years ago, you’d just have to ask with a “Hey, Gaea!” to wake the AI.

A team of scientists and researchers from all around the world helped develop and research all the information and knowledge included in the interactive experience. The team worked with AstroReality’s lead science advisor, J.R. Skok, PhD, a planetary scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, to make sure everything is as accurate as possible.

As the world turns...

As the world turns…

“We want to differentiate the EARTH model from any other earth globe — it’s not just a way to look at earth from above, but a way to see it move, change, and evolve through time,” Dai said.

In addition, AstroReality previously created LUNAR, a similar immersive experience that explores the details and history of the Moon — which seems like a good companion experience with EARTH.

EARTH seems ideal for students, teachers, scientists, model collectors, and astronomy enthusiasts, alike. It’s also a very far cry from the old fashioned plastic globe sitting on every school teacher’s desk. 

However, like all Kickstarter campaigns, this is a prototype until it’s actually delivered in the real world. Although the campaign was fully funded within its first two hours of going live, you can still show some support for as little as $1. Starting at $199, you can have your very own EARTH, which is 30% off its retail price. Shipping starts in November 2018.

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