Since its launch, the iPad has completely changed the way kids learn. But not every learning experience has to be completely digital. That’s why tech startup Osmo created its innovative platform that combines digital technology with objects in the physical world. The objective is to help children learn.
The platform works by placing the iPad on a vertical stand and attaching a small mirror in front of the device’s camera. The mirror allows the device to see downward. The view allows the iPad to capture images of children manipulating physical objects like letters ans shapes on a flat play area below.
Osmo also provides a series of downloadable apps that recognize the objects and let children play games in which they try to reach the objective of spelling out words or choosing specific shapes. The games have theadvantage of being more tactile than mos digital learning environments.
The company has raised $12 million in funding to aid in its growth. Accel Partners led the company’s first round of funding. Rich Wong, a partner at Accel who is joining Osmo’s board of directors told Venture Beat:
“Osmo’s technology makes childhood education more personal, creative and engaging. We believe that the future of education will rely on intuitive innovation that amplifies learning through interactive online-to-offline experiences — Osmo is at the forefront of this movement. Osmo is a natural fit for parents and teachers because it adds a small but powerful layer of technology on top of a platform, the iPad, that children already know and love.”
Like any groundbreaking business model, Osmo is re-imagining its market, in this case digital educational technology. Up until now that’s involved a pretty straight forward digital approach. Education from shapes to spelling to anything else has been limited to a digital world. Press this button to select shape A. Press this button to select shape B.
But some children may need a more hands on approach. Osmo introduces an approach that won’t limit learners to a set of experiences totally confined to the digital world. The company returns the ability to feel and manipulate objects physically as part of the learning process.
On the other hand, Osmo’s platform uses digital technology as an easy way to recognize and record the results of this play in a meaningful way.
The company’s recent success gaining funding and its soon-to-be availability in U.S. and Canadian Apple stores shows this disruptive business model may be the next big innovation in learning technology.