New start-up company Tangible Play has created a very interesting and innovative application that will likely please parents and children alike. Ever since technology took over the world, kids are becoming more and more connected to the digital world, ignoring real world toys in exchange for Facebook and Flappy Bird. Tangible Play hopes to change this trend with Osmo, an application and hardware kit that connects real toys with an iPad.
The company has created three game sets that work with corresponding apps for the iPad. They are as follows;
Newton: A drawing app slash obstacle course. Words: A game closely resembling Scrabble that asks players to guess the correct word based on the letters visible on screen. Tangram: An old fashioned Tangram game
These games will include physical toys in a variety of colors that will connect to the corresponding applications on the iPad in real time. Once the companion applications are downloaded, users will clip on a small mirror device that reflects the gaze of an iPad’s camera downwards by 90 degrees towards the surface the game is played on. The camera will then capture the image of the toys on the desk in real time and reflect the actions of the player on the screen. The apps rely on optical recognition and sophisticated artificial intelligence to compute what is occurring on screen and create a vivid, low latency experience.
Osmo is currently in the early stages of a crown funding campaign. However, the sets are available to pre-order right now for $49. Osmo will sell in retail for $99 when the company reaches their $50,000 goal. Osmo will be compatible with the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad Mini Retina. No Android version has been announced as of yet. That will likely be determined based on the success of Osmo when it officially launches.
Osmo was created to improve fine motor skills, social IQ and hand-eye co-ordination in children. The idea behind Osmo was to blur the line between physical toys and digital games and based on what has been shown of the project so far, this seems to be the case as Osmo seems to be a truly innovative idea.