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Apptitude: learn to meditate, just like a cricket player

This app tests your hearing.

This app tests your hearing. Photo: supplied

Smiling Mind
By: Smiling Mind, smilingmind.com.au
For: Android, iPhone
Cost: free

Prepare your mind for the holiday season by doing a few regular breathing exercises, less than 10 minutes, to help you stay calm and not overreact to emotional situations over Christmas. Also included are meditations used by folks at IBM and Cricket Australia, which uses a physical on-field meditation exercise to sharpen concentration. Refreshingly narrated with an Australian accent, the app gives useful tips (such as keep your back straight), and talks you through the exercises. The app’s creators say that highly regarded institutions such as the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Harvard, Oxford, Monash and Melbourne universities have developed clinical studies into the positive impacts of mindfulness meditation on health and general wellbeing.

Mimi Hearing Test
By: Mimi Hearing Technologies, mimi.io/hearing-test
For: iPhone (soon for Android)
Cost: free

This app turns selfies into pencil sketches.

This app turns selfies into pencil sketches. Photo: supplied

With better sound quality in phones, hearing test apps are improving. While they don’t replace professional assessments, these apps can help you work out the state of your hearing and decide if you need further advice. Try also uHear for iPhone, and Hearing Test for Android (both free). It’s important to make sure there are no planes overhead or noisy lawnmowers around before you start. The test, for each ear, includes a hearing profile that tells you how well you hear specific frequencies, and a hearing landscape showing you the lowest volumes you are able to hear, and there’s information about what it all means.


My Sketch
By: Miinu, miinu.com
For: Android, iPhone
Cost: Android, $2.40; iPhone, free

Gone are the days when you wait for someone at a weekend market to hand sketch your face. This app will transform any selfie, or any photo, into a beautiful pencil sketch. And interestingly, the more wrinkles you have, the better the sketch looks.

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