After seeing some early investors post about Osmo on twitter, I jumped on board and pre-ordered one. Osmo is an interactive system for the iPad using the camera to create Reflective Artificial Intelligence. The three free apps work with a reflector and base to create an interactive play environment. The Osmo is recommended for children ages 6-12. Osmo has two tag lines:
Play on the iPad with real people and real objects.
Osmo promotes social intelligence and creative thinking.
More information can be found here: playosmo.com
I opened my box and found three boxes of components.
I loaded the apps from the iTunes story, put my iPad in the base (you have to take any cases or covers off your iPad) and slipped on the reflector over the camera.
and we were ready to go!
First up was Tangram. The puzzles have difficulty options – the pieces are shown in colour, or in black and grey or just outlines. As you place the pieces in front of the iPad, the game provides feedback as to when you have the piece in the correct place and orientation. Great feedback provided as you play and overall, just a great visual-spatial play experience.
Next we tried Words. A beautiful photograph comes up on the screen and you are prompted with the number of letters in the word and then have to choose the letter tiles to spell the word. The letter tiles don’t have to placed in correct spelling order, the app reads the letter and places the letter in the correct spot in the word. If you place a letter tile out that is not in the word, it fills a spot at the top of the screen to show you what letter you have used incorrectly. This game can be played by yourself or versus friends and gets progressively more difficult. A great game for word work.
The last game we tried was Newton. There are not any physical components to go with this app but I personally found this one the most creative and engaging. Visual-spatial problem solving, physics and pinball wizardry all play a part in this amazing interactive experience. You begin with a plain white piece of paper and the reflector reads whatever you draw or place on the paper. Balls start to drop from the top of the screen and you need to direct them to their targets. It is a little mind-boggling at first to see your hand appear on the iPad screen as a line drawing. I also placed my phone down and it “read” that and created an image – I used it to bounce balls off of like a pinball machine. All the adults around me were amazed by Newton – lots of great interactive fun and learning to be had here!
The current price is $80 and a reflector and base would be needed for each iPad which makes Osmo a little pricey for classroom use but on the upside, it is such a social, interactive game that can be placed upright on a table so that a group of 4-6 children can easily stand around and play together.
I’m looking forward to seeing what new apps and play experiences this new company comes up with!