Innovative iPad product Osmo combines computer vision AI with physical object gaming

Education product crowdfunds for cash and awareness

Innovative iPad product Osmo combines computer vision AI with physical object gaming
| Osmo

The widespread growth in touchscreens has revolutionised the way people, and especially children, interact with computers.

Just see the frustration welling up in the eyes of any iPad-toting three year-old when they touch a TV screen without response, for example.

Plenty of companies want to go one stage further, however, using computer vision as a more open method of onscreen control.

Technically, it's a fearsomely difficult thing to do, but Tangible Play, a US startup consisting of staff who worked at the likes of Google, Disney and Ubisoft, reckoned they've solved the problem - at least in a way that's good enough for some education games.

See and play

Called Osmo, their project is focused on allowing children - specifically the six-to-12 age group - to co-operate, compete and learn in a new way.

It works very simply thanks to a stand which holds your iPad in a fixed, vertical position and a clip-on red mirror unit, which slots over the camera and enables it to see what's going on in front of the screen.

The initial release of Osmo comes with three physical game packs.

Tangram features coloured blocks you move around to match the shapes on the screen; Words is a word game with letter tiles that kids can throw infront of the screen in any orientation to spell out objects, while Newton is a more open experience, were you can draw lines on paper or place objects to interact with the balls that are falling down the screen.

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Currently in testing with 100 schools in the Bay Area, Osmo is launching its own crowdfunding move today to raise awareness about the product, and $50,000 to manufacture the first batch of games, stands and mirrors.

The package is expected to retail at $99 when it's available instore later this summer, but supporters will only pay $49.

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Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.