Introducing the New iPad Game You'll Actually Want Your Kids to Be Glued To
byKaitlin StanfordMay 23, 2014
If you're looking for ways to unglue your kid from the iPad, two inventors may have a solution for you. Well, sort of. Their new iPad device, Osmo, aims to cut down on solo screen time, by incorporating "real-world play" into kid-friendly games.
While it's not due on the market until this summer, Osmo is already getting quite a bit of buzz for its ingenuity. “I want to have Apple design and Pixar-like quality,” said its co-creator Pramod Sharma. Sharma is a former Google engineer who teamed up with designer Jerome Scholler for the project.
Here's how it works: Prop up your iPad using a stand and attach a small mirror to the front of the tablet's camera. This nifty little attachment causes the iPad lens to use the mirror's reflective powers so that it can see whatever you put below it, and in front of the iPad. Next, you fire up the app and start to play.
The app consists of several games, but all of them have the same basic premise — kids are directed by the app to do things with real objects in front of them. For example, the game Oslo Words (which works much like Hangman) will see an image of something like a bear on screen. Using lettered game pieces, kids must spell out the word B-E-A-R. The camera recognizes both correct words and incorrect words, awarding and taking away points based on accuracy, and teaching kids the basics of spelling under the guise of a fun game. Even better, kids can play against the game or against each other, since Osmo games can switch between single and multi-player settings.
“As people are flocking to virtual reality, we’re pioneering actual reality — unleashing experiences that go beyond digital screens,” said Sharma.
Other games involve trying to recreate images on the screen by drawing them on paper below, or using shapes to recreate puzzles. While the games are aimed at kids aged 6-12, Sharma says even adults love it.
“I do not think you can avoid technology in today’s world,” Sharma said. “It is good for us in many ways. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to play with it. Osmo is the right way.”
The game is still in the crowd-funding phase, but expects to ship its first orders this summer. It's set to retail for $99, but presale backers will get a nicely discounted price of $49, plus $5 off for referring a friend.