5 Free Apps to make you Smarter in your Daily Journey

5 Free Apps to make you Smarter in your Daily Journey

A significant number of the population take public transport daily. Daily ridership on MRT alone is approximately 2.5mil in 2012, and guess what, a majority of people do on their trains? You wouldn’t be far off if you guess gaming, watching shows, and messaging. Now, the average duration spent on commute is 45 min, and if you think about it, this 45 minutes could be spent learning something new, or training our brains, making us more productive and hopefully smarter.

1. Lumosity

Challenge and train your brain with scientifically designed training programs, that are cleverly disguised as games. Also, games are randomly assigned daily and are designed in bite-sized pieces, so you can easily complete them before reaching your MRT or Bus Stop destination. The games are based on tasks used in neuropsychological studies and trains functional areas such as speed, memory, attention, flexibility and problem solving. Think you are smarter than me? Here’s my score to beat me. :) If you are interested to understand further on the Science behind it, head over to the Lumosity Blog to understand more.

The only problem: it is iOS only for now, with the Android version due to come soon. However, the Lumosity web-browser (desktop mainly) version does offer more choice of games.


One of my favorite game on the desktop version of Lumosity would be Penguin Pursuit, a seemingly simple game where you have to navigate a penguin through a maze but gets deviously complicated as the world spins around, training your spatial orientation.

2. Duolingo


Duolingo is one of the best, if not the best language learning tool available today. If you are trying to pick up a new language, this is a great learning aid. Duolingo can teach you Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, and Italian. It uses timed practice drills, with images and sounds, to help you learn your chosen language and motivates you through gameification, with points, and badges. The mobile apps sync with your web-based profile and practice, so you can pick up your training from where you left off.

3. Google Play Newsstand

play newsstand

I use Google Play Newsstand a lot while commuting. The key feature that stand out for me is the automatic sync-ing and on the device offline only. At least when travelling in no-data areas which are quite prevalent in our underground MRT network, this is extremely helpful. Discover more of the news and magazines you care about on your Android tablet or phone.

Android only though, the iOS version still has the old Currents only, which doesn’t work as well due to no auto sync.

4. Audible

Audible: Audio books – i.e. recordings of books read aloud. The Audible app lets you download audiobooks directly to your Android or iOS device. It works great with drivers too so that you can listen while on the go. With Audible, you can turn on and listen to a good book even when you can’t pick one up—on your way to work, or back home. An alternative for audio books could be Google’s own Google Play Books as well.

Audible is available on both Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.

5. Coursera


And finally, the last app is Coursera – where you can take on free online classes from 100+ top universities and organizations. Browse courses and watch lectures from the world’s best instructors anytime, anywhere – on your commute or on the treadmill, and the course options are great with a whole lot of variety, from mathematics to music to medicine. Great thing is that now on Android, or iOS, download lectures for offline viewing. This is like watching webcasts back in my NUS days.


Coursera is available on both Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.