Oko, a free app for the iPad, turns NASA satellite imagery into spinning touchscreen puzzles.

Circular chunks of the photos spin at different speeds--your job is to tap them when they’re lined up correctly.

The game play is pretty straightforward--for the first few levels.

Then, pieces start spinning faster and in more complex patterns, and things get a bit challenging.

There are 20 puzzles in all--enough to kill an hour or two, and enjoy some spectacular views of our planet.

Grab the app for free in the iTunes App Store.


Oko: An iPad App That Turns Satellite Photos Into Spinning Puzzles

NASA’s majestic views of Earth from space have never been quite this frustrating.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds jigsaw puzzles totally maddening. It seems pretty clear that they’re a holdover from an era when the mean attention span could be measured in minutes, not seconds. Oko, however, is a bit better suited for people accustomed to living life at the speed of their Twitter timeline. The novel puzzle app for the iPad slices NASA satellite shots up into mesmerizing spinning scenes, and all you have to do solve them is wait for everything to line up, and then tap.

The app was conceived by Swiss designer Nadezda Suvorova and created in collaboration with developers Pierre Rossel and Jeremie Forge. Compared to the thousand-piece cardboard endeavors you might undertake on a long weekend, Oko’s puzzles are pretty low-impact—at least for the first five levels or so. Then pieces start spinning faster, and pieces start spinning within pieces, and then—yes, there it is!—you start to feel a bit of that old-school puzzle frustration come creeping back.

You start cursing the craggy peaks of the Burning Mountain in Namibia for looking so damn similar from space and wondering why the dumb old Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka couldn’t develop a more distinct footprint after several hundred million years of tectonic activity. Yep, it happened: now you’ve got full-blown irrational puzzle rage. Just be glad you don’t have to solve these things to a timer.

The app, available for free, has 20 puzzles in all, and if nothing else, it’s a nice way to kill an hour during a road trip and remind yourself of the splendor of our humble planet. Also: a good reminder to think twice before you bust open that 750-piecer of the Golden Gate Bridge this holiday season.

Grab the app in the iTunes App Store

[Hat tip: Creators Project]

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  • Prachi Chaudhari

    Extreme amount of style.
    This is a very good example of how a physical concept(The Jigsaw puzzles) can be translated into an app for a touch device.