It's official: Kids today have way cooler toys than you did when you were growing up. PBS Kids has just outed its first augmented reality mobile app for iOS -- a game called Fetch! Lunch Rush that aims to take the sting out of learning to do addition and subtraction in your head. If you're up on PBS' children's programming (and why wouldn't you be?), you'll recognize that pooch Ruff Ruffman as the game show host in the animated show Fetch! Here, he's a legendary movie director trying to make sure there's enough sushi for his movie crew (grown-up problems, right?). That's where the augmented reality comes in: bits of raw fish floating around screen. Though it's worth noting that this isn't augmented reality in the strictest sense of the term, in that you have to print out game cards to use with your iPhone or iPod touch's camera. The free app requires an iPhone or iPod touch (fourth-gen or later) or an iPad / iPad 2 running iOS 4.0. While we can't say we're a bit envious of those six- to eight-year-olds with their very own iPod touches, but then again, will they ever know the sheer joy of hunting in Oregon Trail over and over again?
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PBS Kids Lunch Rush app

ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PBS KIDS today announced its first augmented reality app for iPhone and iPod touch, FETCH! Lunch Rush, which is now available on the App Store. Available for free, the app uses the camera on iPhone or iPod touch to overlay computer-generated graphics on top of the physical, real-world environment. Extending PBS's leadership in using augmented reality as an educational tool, FETCH! Lunch Rush opens a new world of learning by teaching kids ages six to eight math skills, like addition and subtraction, while blending the virtual and real world into a truly engaging experience.

"Augmented reality is becoming a popular marketing tool and a compelling feature for gamers, but no one has fully explored what this could mean for educating children"

"Augmented reality is becoming a popular marketing tool and a compelling feature for gamers, but no one has fully explored what this could mean for educating children," said Jason Seiken, Senior Vice President, Interactive, Product Development and Innovation, PBS. "We were among the first to offer educational augmented reality kids content when we launched the DINOSAUR TRAIN Hatching Party online game last year, in which a player's real world intersects with a virtual environment online to help hatch a dinosaur egg. We're excited to expand our exploration of this space by launching our first augmented reality mobile app and continue PBS KIDS's leadership in using new technologies to further learning."

"The FETCH! Lunch Rush App is designed as a 3-D game, which helps kids visualize the math problems they are trying to solve," added Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children's Media, PBS. "At PBS KIDS our goal is to use media to nurture kids' natural curiosity and inspire them to explore the world around them; we can't wait to see what this new app will mean for furthering that exploration."

The FETCH! Lunch Rush App was produced by PBS member station WGBH and is based on the PBS KIDS GO! series FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman, also produced by WGBH. In this multiplayer app, Ruff Ruffman has to collect the lunch order for his studio crew. The challenge is keeping track of how many pieces of sushi everyone wants using augmented reality "markers" (printable hand-outs) that prompt activity within the app. The app uses 3-D imagery to reinforce the early algebraic concepts, helping kids to make the connection between real objects and corresponding numeric symbols.

The FETCH! Lunch Rush App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone or iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.

Developed in partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and powered by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, FETCH! Lunch Rush is part of a new suite of games available on the newly launched PBS KIDS Lab website (PBSKIDS.org/lab). Combined with online and interactive whiteboard games, this new app helps build a learning experience for kids that takes place across platforms, all with the goal of accelerating learning. In addition to FETCH!, six suites based on hit PBS KIDS series are available on the PBS KIDS Lab: THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!, CURIOUS GEORGE, SID THE SCIENCE KID, FIZZY'S LUNCH LAB, SUPER WHY!. and DINOSAUR TRAIN.

To date, PBS KIDS mobile apps have been downloaded more than 1.4 million times. With a transmedia approach, PBS KIDS is increasingly serving children wherever they live, learn, and play – through mobile devices, as well as on TV, online, in the classroom, and through a new line of educational toys.

For images of the FETCH! Lunch Rush App, please visit PBS PressRoom.

About PBS KIDS:
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for children, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. For more information on specific PBS KIDS programs supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About CPB:
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operation of more than 1,300 locally-owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

About The Ready To Learn Initiative:
The Ready To Learn Initiative is a grant program managed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness.

About WGBH Boston

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer and the single largest source of prime-time and children's programming for PBS and pbs.org. Among the WGBH-produced children's titles: Arthur, Curious George, Postcards from Buster, Between the Lions, Design Squad, Martha Speaks, FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman, and Peep and the Big Wide World. For more information, visit www.wgbh.org.

The contents of this release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. U295A100025, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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