As a parent, I made a very conscious decision to select toys which would grow with my children, inspire creativity, and educate. Because of this our house is filled with LEGO, Leapfrog toys, art supplies, and games. This did not stop our children from falling in love with our technology, from the computer to iPods to our iPads and PS3. Do you have to say your child’s name 5 times and at a decibel that would make passing under a jet with no ear protection seem like a bedtime lullaby before they look up from the warm glow of the iPad? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. I honestly thought I would never be that parent, but here I am 7 years later and I find myself begging to use my own iPad.
A group of designers and visionaries at Tangible Play, a Silicon Valley startup founded by former Google, Disney, and Unisoft employees found a new way for children to interact with the iPad technology they love so much, while breaking that zombie-like stare parents know all too well. Osmo is part iPad accessory and software, allowing the interactive screen to recognize objects in the real world. The accessory piece of Osmo is an iPad stand and a small plastic clip-on mirror which directs the Apple tablet’s front facing camera down toward the table.
The first of three games included are Words, a fast paced update of Hangman crossed with Scrabble where players utilize colored letter tiles to guess and spell out the on-screen hidden word by tossing the correct tiles down faster than your friends. The second, Tangram focuses on spatial relationships and problem solving by allowing children to arrange tangible puzzle pieces into matching on-screen shapes. As the pieces are placed correctly the onscreen counterparts lights up, showing each victory made towards the final solution. Lastly Osmo offers Newton, a problem solving game where anything around you can be a solution. Your goal is to guide the small on-screen balls to hit the target. This can be achieved by drawing solutions on paper placed directly in front of the tablet or by placing objects in the field of vision. With 60 levels of puzzles and your child’s imagination there are no limits to the solutions. The company hopes with a strong launch of Osmo, they will be able to grow and offer additional games in the future.
Tangible Play uses Osmo to get back to the core of what Apple is all about – Think Different. With this simple yet amazing “toy”, children will look at an iPad and their interaction with it differently. Not bad for a “T-O-Y”.
Osmo works with the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPad Mini with Retina Display and iPad Air.