Is your child addicted to his iPad? Rather then taking it away, use it to your benefit! Pramod Sharma, an ex-Google engineer, has used the iPad’s addictive quality to an educational advantage. Osmo uses the cameras and display of the iPad and turns any table into a learning lab that is interactive.
In a previous article about this product, you learned that Osmo used letter tiles, coloured blocks etc as video game controllers when they were put in the camera’s view. It recognises objects that trigger animations. Osmo currently has over a million dollars in pre-orders and is on its way to the mass market in time for Christmas.
But how was it designed? There will be three apps that come with Osmo: Tangram, Words and Newton. But what is really exciting is that Sharma plans to allow third party developers to create games for the system. Sharma states, “we believe we can add magic to so many existing tangible experiences.”
How did Osmo come into existence? As a parent and Google product designer, Sharma didn’t like how much time his daughter spent using technology. He says, “intuitively it felt wrong for her to be hunched over playing games for so long, and she would just sort of tune the rest of the world out while she played.”
Osmo is simple. Things like circuit boards, power cables or Bluetooth are not built into the Osmo. It simply uses the iPad cameras and mirrors to redirect the camera.
Children do not touch the screen often, they interactively play with everyday objects that they can take from their own toys. The iPad will become a social experience as children will want to invite their friends over for play dates.
Sharma and co-founder, Jerome Scholler, started by creating hand carved models from wood. They got TechShop memberships so they could move their design forward. “As we worked, our target was ‘how would Apple, or Pixar, or Google build this? We kept working until we had built something that could stand alongside that level of quality,”states Sharma.
Even packaging was important for them to consider. Recognising that the iPad would obviously be used for other means, the mirror can be stored in the base dock when the iPad is removed.
Osmo has raised an undisclosed amount of money using crowdfunding pre-orders. “We were pretty confident that Osmo’s new take on play would resonate with other parents and educators,”states Sharma. “We would eventually need to invest in our own website, so why not start with it?”
The toy market is incredibly hard to break into but Sharma believes he has created something truly productive. “The trick is to offer products that are truly joyful, intuitive and engaging in a very crowded space,”he says. “I have a daughter and I can tell you that its really hard to keep her engaged with something just because it’s educational or high-tech or good for her.”
Would you like to try out the Osmo? Pre-orders are being taken for October deliver at only $49. Grab yours today!
[Image via mashable]