In Windows XP there was a Power Toy called Physics Illustrator. This was a great idea for illustrating physics concepts or visualising ideas. Watch this clip:
The frustrating thing is that it was only available for Tablet PCs. In a primary context it would have been great to use on Smartboards. Microsoft have now developed a similar application for Microsoft Surface called DaVinci. The original project was called Natural Interaction or Magic Paper in collaboration with MIT.
A separate product called Phun has matured into a retail product called Algodoo. Interestingly there is a proliferation of physics illustrators or gravity based games on the iPad/iPod which take advantage of the accelerometer.
A number of these apps are games based which doesn’t exactly fit with the model for how we might use the iPads. I am interested in the exploratory/open ended apps which might enable children to trial ideas or model concepts in class.