Wednesday, January 25, 2012

INL offers virtual tours through mobile app

In concert with National Nuclear Science Week, the Idaho National Laboratory has launched a mobile app that allows smart phone and tablet users to see what goes on at the lab without investing all the time and expense it would take for an on-site tour.

The idea is to give university and industry representatives, government leaders, and members of the public a new, visually compelling means of finding out what kind of nuclear energy research goes on at the INL.

"Time is a precious resource for all of us," said Harold McFarlane, interim associate laboratory director for Nuclear Science and Technology. "By making this comprehensive app available, we're able to save time and money for our own staff and more importantly, that of prospective research partners and industry representatives who need to know in real time if we've got the assets and abilities they're looking for to develop, test and prove their theses and technologies."

Taking the virtual tour is as simple as loading the free mobile app onto your smartphone or tablet from one of several locations. Currently, the app can be viewed from http://nuclearapp.inl.gov using a browser like Apple Safari or Google Chrome. The Google Chrome frame plug-in makes the app viewable on Internet Explorer as well.

A native Android app for tablets is available on the Android Market, while efforts continue on development of native Android smartphone and Apple iOS apps. A condensed version of the app is available in flipbook form at http://www.inl.gov/publications/the-national-nuclear-laboratory.

The company that was instrumental in the development of this was ComDesigns of Idaho Falls. For company president Mike Hart's account of the work they did (and the work that goes on), go to http://www.comdesigns.com/blog/2012/1/13/publishing-our-first-app.html.