Former Googlers launch Osmo, aim to revolutionize gaming
You see it every day — kids who look like digital zombies hunched over, glued to their smartphones and tablets, isolated and disengaged from the world watching videos or playing games. But what if there was a gaming device that opened up the digital experience to unlimited possibilities of real world play, where anything — from toothpicks to paintbrushes to clay — or anyone becomes part of the experience?
That’s the mission of Osmo, a new gaming device that is launching its crowdfunding campaign today to create a new Play Movement to bring life into digital gaming. The team behind Osmo, young parents out of Stanford and Google, invented Reflective Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.
Osmo’s Co-founder Pramod Sharma when asked about why he started Osmo, says, “It has become a common sight to see so many kids with faces glued to screens disconnected (from real people and real objects). Interaction of tablets inspired us to invent Osmo which takes the interaction beyond screens. The moment we internalized technical breakthrough (reflective AI) to implement Osmo, we left our jobs! We are starting a new play movement to re-think how kids (and adults) interact with technology. Osmo creates new markets and the potential is very large.”
Osmo consists of a unique new reflective camera, game pieces and mobile apps that incorporate an iPad into the game in a whole new way. Osmo expands gameplay beyond the screen, transforming the physical space in front of the tablet into an interactive environment that turns any object into a digitally connected game piece or even captures physical drawings and makes them digital in real time.
“As people are flocking to virtual reality, we’re pioneering actual reality — unleashing experiences that go beyond digital screens,” says Pramod Sharma, CEO and Co-founder of Osmo.
“Osmo promotes social intelligence and creative thinking in kids which are essential & important life skills as they grow up into adults. Osmo can be played by the whole family, anywhere, and on any surface — with no need for wifi or a battery and instinctively brings people together as the first truly multi-generational connected gaming device,” says Pramod talking about the impact he wants to create with this venture.
The three games Osmo is launching with include:
- Newton: What do grandma’s glasses, your hands, and pen & paper all have in common? They’re all physical tools that are at the whim of your limitless creativity while playing Newton. Grab anything around you to build structures that magically become part of the game; guiding on screen bouncing balls to hit targets.
- Tangram: This mindful game uses timeless tangram wooden pieces that have challenged the minds of millions over centuries. The game challenges, interacts and rewards as you explore and experiment with different spatial arrangements using hands dexterity and creative thinking to solve the puzzles. As you solve, the game lights up and reveals the map of even more challenging puzzles.
- Words: By showing beautiful pictures as word clues, this game magnetically attracts players of all ages to party around Osmo to quickly guess the word by tossing letter tiles in front of it. Carefully crafted, competitive and cooperative modes get people interacting, bonding, laughing and strategizing together. Fast paced gameplay with increasing difficulty encourages players to think outside the box.
The product is being used by a select group of people right now and testimonials are pouring in. “After seeing Osmo for the first time I couldn’t stop bringing my colleagues to see it, and we couldn’t stop raving about Osmo. Every time students play with the Osmo, their excitement is palpable,” says Tanya Avrith, Apple Distinguished Educator. “After testing hundreds of products for kids, we’ve finally found a product that we know every one of our students will love — a product that naturally brings kids together around the iPad and engages them to learn collaboratively. This is the future of education.”
Osmo is using crowdfunding to complete its manufacturing. The device will retail for $99, but presale backers will get discount pricing starting at $49 (limited availability).
Watch this video for an amazing Osmo experience: