04.11.2014

Osmo, new ways to play with iPads and tangible objects

Osmo, new ways to play with iPads and tangible objects

Image | Osmo

We are all familiar with the image of child in his own world, engrossed with the screen of a tablet or smartphone. If you read this, you´re probably thinking of your child or nephew or niece, and in those moments when they were absent from a family reunion, although there were more children around.
As much as I defend the benefits of mobile devices applied to education, and although we have access to countless education apps, we are concerned that the tablet does not help our children to socialize. Children demand to spend hours alone in front of the touch screen and we don´t know how to get them out without directly using the tablet or phone.
The solution may lie somewhere in between, mixing the virtual world with the real world, creating situations where you can interact with the iPad, but playing with the hands. This is Osmo´s proposal, an “app” that goes beyond the screen.

No more accessories than a mirror

Founded by former employees of Google, Disney and Ubisoft, the new Tangible Play has gotten Silicon Valley´s attention for having developed a product as simple as “magic”: Osmo.
This new initiative is one of the most elegant solutions that we have seen to bring our children back to the real world, and consists of a stand for the iPad that makes a vertical screen, a mirror that reflects the frontal camera of the iPad to see the table where the children play, and a number of games in the program that you can interact with.

Everything is sold in a single pack for 80 dollars and includes three games: “Newton”, “Words” and “Tangram”:

  • “Newton” is a game based on a virtual ball that the children have to guide through obstacles drawn on paper in front of the iPad, any object on the paper is shown on the screen as an obstacle.
  • “Words” is a guessing and spelling game. The screen shows an image and the children have to spell by tagging the name of the object they’re seeing.
  • “Tangram” is a logic game. The application shows a silhouette of a figure and, as if it were a puzzle, the children should represent the object with physical pieces.

In the three games, the iPad interacts in every moment with the children through images and sounds that warn if the test is being done correctly or if they are making a mistake.

The future of Osmo and Tangible Play

Osmo is part of the Fast Company incubator, and has become a reality thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that raised 50,000 dollars through advance sales. Early buyers who made their project a reality benefitted from a discount of almost 50%.
Apart from continuing to sell to individuals, Tangible Play believes that Osmo has a future in the schools in the San Francisco Bay. In fact, more than a hundred classrooms have signed on to use the games to offer toys to children from 6 to 12 years. Some of the district teachers commented to FastCo: “The thing that hooked me the most was watching the engagement and how willing kids were to keep working even when they couldn’t figure it out”.

The mSchools programme is a multi-faceted mEducation initiative by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, in collaboration with The Generalitat of Catalonia, Barcelona City Hall and GSMA.

Launched in 2013, mSchools supports students and teachers effectively integrating mobile technologies into the classroom. Mobile enables access to up-to-date materials, improves collaboration and strengthens learner engagement, opening up new ways of teaching and learning that improve achievement and employability.

The mSchools programme brings together private and public institutions to help students build important new skills and prepare them for today’s digital world.

Mobile World Capital presents a global vision that effectively integrates mobile technologies into the fabric of the industries transforming our lives. Committed to expanding the mobile experience throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain with strong support of the public and private sector.

Mobile World Capital is leading mobile transformation through commitments in Competence Centres, local Industry Development, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation programmes.

MWCapital offers an open platform and exhibition showroom where citizens can understand and experience how mobile is enhancing our lives: The Mobile World Centre, located in the heart of Barcelona on Plaza Catalunya.

More information: