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Cognito - Lloyd Barnes and Owen Garfield
$29.95 (download)

The Hype:
Magicians and mentalists have strived for centuries to crack the code of real mind reading.

COGNITO is the closest you will ever come to experiencing the incredible power of telepathy.

Imagine having someone think of ANYTHING (a playing card, star sign, word, movie, celebrity...whatever THEY want). They NEVER write it down, type it, point at it, click it, blink or even whisper...the thought ONLY exists inside their mind.

Yet with Cognito you know EXACTLY what they are thinking. There is even a way to do it with no peek at all.

Cognito is a revolutionary Magic App that combines a classic principle with genius new methods to know what spectators are thinking without seemingly doing anything.

The reason reviewers are calling this "The best app of the decade." is because it has no competition. Cognito stands on its own as the most unique and brilliantly thought out Magic App ever created.

Simply put; Magic Apps shouldn't get reactions like this.
Incredibly easy to perform
NO memory work or mental calculations
Perform in minutes
Works in ANY language
NO internet needed
Fools magicians
Multiple effects built in
Create your own effects with ease.
PLUS: A huge and active Facebook community (facebook name: cognitoapp) packed with ideas and new improbable routines.

My Take:
Normally, as a reviewer, I don't really want to review an item that everyone else has already done. However, the buzz on this app has been so pervasive that I knew I had to check it out. I am so glad that I did. If I had to describe this app in one word, that word would be "Wow!"

I have played around with apps before and some are good, some are just okay and some should be avoided like the plague. Cognito definitely outdistances every single one of them. Learn this (not hard to do) and you will have a real reputation maker.

If you watch the demo video, you will see a performance of Horoscope Peek. The reaction of the girl is not a put on. You actually hand your spectator your phone before a decision is made and then never touch it again. This is absolutely as close to real mindreading as it gets.

Magicians will be totally fooled by this. There are no tells or obvious methods. The question you are most likely to get from them is "Where do I buy this?" I have had the opportunity to see some great mentalists (such as Jon Stetson) and have no idea how much of their work is done. I do know however, that what they perform can sometimes take years of practice and they are holding tight to their secrets. Cognito allows you to jump into the game running. You will even fool the mentalists who don't own this one.

I have friends who tell me they can make a lot of extra money when they perform at a gathering and do some readings. Imagine the powerful impact on these people when you can reveal their star sign with no questions being asked. These people are already in the proper frame of mind to accept this. And people do talk. Your name and this routine will be mentioned many times to friends, relatives and co-workers.

This is perfect for street magic and walk around. It can be repeated immediately with a different result. And since you will have multiple routines stored in your phone, you can shift gears and present a totally different routine instantly.

A very nice feature of this app is that you can design and upload routines of your own. It is not hard and if you are tech savvy you can design some mindblowing routines. If you are not, you can knock together a simpler routine without a lot of grief. A Facebook group has been started for owners of the app only where you can post any routines you happen to create. Yes, this is more than an app. It is actually a full fledged laboratory where you get to be Dr. Frankenstein. And there are absolutely dozens of routines others have created and uploaded. You may never have to buy another trick.

Creativity using non-magical skills to create miracles has always been around. Robert Houdin created some incredible automatons. Del Ray was well known for his inventions. So, it is only natural that when the home computer came into existence someone would create magic that could be done with it. Which obviously leads to today's smart phones which are actually hand-held computers. The huge advantage here is that you always have your phone with you. How nice is it that you can do a mind numbing performance when anyone asks if you can show them a little magic. I usually carry a deck in my pocket but this could change that. (This will keep my wife happy because 1) she doesn't like the lump in the pocket that it causes and 2) sometimes I forget the deck is there and throw the pants into the laundry. Not only does this make her less than happy, I have lost some expensive decks. I guarantee you that I will never toss my phone into the laundry).

I have fallen head over heels in love with this app. It is a lot of fun to just sit and do the trick on myself. It is fascinating to watch. And if you can fool yourself, imagine what it will do to the public.

As I said earlier, watch the demo video for the reactions. Unlike a lot of advertising videos, I really believe the reactions are not put on. The magic this app does is that strong. It has the potential for turning you into a magic god.

I do have one regret. We just returned from a small ship cruise with 29 passengers (or victims for my card tricks.) We had a great time and everyone loved the magic. I just wish that this had been on my phone before we left.

Conclusion: This is probably one of my favorite effects that I have ever reviewed in the last 10 years. It is easy to do. It is endlessly adaptable to whatever ideas you might have. Say, you are working a convention for a manufacturer. A routine can be put together where you have one of the attendees simply think of one of the products being offered and you can name it. I have seen apps do a lot less for more money. At $29.95, this is the bargain of the year. If I could put my opinion into two words, they would be "Buy it!"
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