Osmo: Intelligent Games to make children grow up

Osmo is a word that maybe we listened to but we didn’t know what exactly is it ,In this article we are going to introduce Osmo and its amazing benefits to our children.

With the ever-increasing variety of educational applications for children and teenagers, it is quite difficult for developers to be able to surprise us with an unusual application. Osmo is just one of them. A game that tries to merge virtual reality with “physical” game … and it succeeds!

Osmo has created a new gaming category, which combines the digital world with the physical one, creating a one-of-a-kind and even more interactive experience. Osmo is a tablet accessory for teaching that shortens the distances between the real and digital worlds, combining tablet screens, particularly loved by children, with the tactile and practical interaction they need.

A breath of fresh air that thanks to technology invites the little ones to participate actively, to think, play and see their creations come to life. Its uniqueness immediately brought excellent results worldwide, with more than 2.5 million downloads on iPad and reaching over 50,000 schools.

What is Osmo?

Osmo Coding is a new interactive game that aims to teach children computational thinking through the use of physical objects. For those unfamiliar with it, Osmo is an educational kit suitable for children aged 5 to 12 to develop, among other things, logical-mathematical intelligence, learn to read and compose words, count and much more.

Osmo is an educational game for children aged five and up. It is a set of iPad accessories that allow you to interact with specific iOS applications in augmented reality. 

For now, it is only compatible with Apple tablets, but it is possible that a version for Android will also be released in the future. Models that support Osmo are iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2.

With the ever-increasing variety of educational applications for children and teenagers, it is quite difficult for developers to be able to surprise us with an unusual application. Osmo is just one of them. A game that tries to merge virtual reality with a “physical” game … and it succeeds!

Osmo has created a new gaming category, which combines the digital world with the physical one, creating a one-of-a-kind and even more interactive experience. Osmo is a tablet accessory for teaching that shortens the distances between the real and digital worlds, combining tablet screens, particularly loved by children, with the tactile and practical interaction they need. 

A breath of fresh air that, thanks to technology, invites the little ones to participate actively, to think, play and see their creations come to life. Its uniqueness immediately brought excellent results worldwide, with more than 2.5 million downloads on iPad and reaching over 50,000 schools.

Who made it?

Behind the Osmo brand of children’s games is Tangible Play Inc, founded in 2013 in Palo Alto, California (United States) by two former Google engineers and parents, Pramod Sharma and Jerome Scholler.
The catalogue of games available spans 12 titles, including Super Studio, Coding Awbie and Masterpiece, which respectively teach creativity, computer science and drawing. To date, Osmo is available in 42 countries around the world and has been chosen by more than 50,000 schools. He was also named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions, a Parents’ Choice Award winner, an Oppenheim Award winner and a 2016 Toy of the Year finalist.

The pleasure of manual skill

Much research shows that the excessive use of screens such as tablets, smartphones or PCs in children does not give them the necessary tools for learning and growth. In fact, more and more children lose the pleasure of dexterity and creativity, arriving at school with a weak motor ability, even simply in the use of pencils and pens.

Faced with this situation, two former Google engineers and above all two parents, Pramod Sharma and Jérôme Scholler, founded Osmo to create a new fun and educational gaming experience. In fact, the proposals include hands-on activities, essential for correct development, combined with Osmo’s proprietary technology to give children a fun tool to explore their creativity and at the same time improve their entrepreneurial, STEM, spelling, math and more.

In addition, Osmo’s holistic learning system and design lends itself to children of different ages and thanks to a wide variety of add-ons, it is the perfect tool to keep your children entertained.

The basic kit has been on sale for a year and over time various expansions have been added. In most cases, the use of an app associated with cards is required to be placed on the table to compose figures and words, or do the calculations.

With Coding the model is replicated by introducing the teaching of programming fundamentals. As always, it is the interaction between the physical blocks and the digital part that stimulates children and leads them to have fun while learning something new: a formula that is working a lot and that is therefore worth pursuing.

In the official note, the US company explains that Coding combines the need to make children learn the most important skill of the 21st century, and the use of physical objects designed to embody mathematical concepts, which are crucial for development and at the same time accessible for children.

Also in this case the recommended age is between 5 and 12 years, the novelty is that in addition to the Osmo experts, former Google software engineers collaborated who in their career have written more than 10 million lines of code for products like Google Search, Docs and Chrome.

Each physical block contains a unique command, which can be sequenced with other commands. In combination with the loop parameters and boolean (if-then) blocks, children can easily create complex sequences that then manifest themselves graphically on the tablet screen.

In particular, by organizing the physical pieces of code correctly, children can guide Awbie into her virtual world. Whether it’s shaking trees, munching strawberries, or planting flowers, kids can use computational thinking to dominate the world of Awbie.

The idea came from MIT research that established that tangible programming is easy for children to understand and allows them to personalize their learning and progress. Osmo Coding is based on this type of research because the coding takes place through the manipulation of physical objects, and the game helps to develop social, cognitive and motor skills with computer science fundamentals.

How does Osmo work?

Osmo’s games are powered by proprietary Reflective AI technology that makes their iPad or Amazon Fire a blank canvas for kids to express their creativity and learn. This proprietary technology, the first of its kind, allows objects placed in front of the screen to be reflected on the device used. In this way, children will be able to perfectly combine the world of video games and the physical and real one, continuing to learn and have fun.

But how to make it possible? In just three simple gestures! In fact, you can transform your tablet into a fun and interactive learning interface for your child in a very practical and fast way.

Just place the Osmo sensor at the height of the device’s camera and like a scanner, it captures everything that happens in front of the screen on the playing surface, such as the child’s movements, the various pieces he manipulates and places on the table. These appear on the screen which provides immediate (and entertaining) auditory and visual feedback. Furthermore, once the games have been downloaded and installed on the device, a WiFi connection will not be required.

Osmo games

Starter Kit Genius: the pack of games to get closer to the Osmo world. The Starter Kit Genius is the game designed for children aged 6 to 10 that allows them to discover the world of Osmo and become passionate about its revolutionary and innovative gaming experience. The kit includes everything children need to experience physical learning and digital fun with 5 different game modes:

Words:

learning to write has never been so much fun. Children will have fun guessing the words and composing them, thanks to the cards with the letters provided.

osmo

There are several game modes and it is possible to select the preferred language, from a vast choice, making it a very effective tool for training the mind of the little ones and introducing them to the use of new languages.

The Words game has several modes:

  • a classic game where we have to guess the words proposed at random
  • a Junior game for children struggling with their first words or, in our case, for those who are starting to learn their first words in English
  • a Custom game with the ability to choose themed words, such as the names of colors or states of the USA.

Plus, with a recent update, Osmo gives us the ability to create and share our own word collections with others. Just enter the personal area of ​​the dedicated myOsmo website and create a word album, upload an image and indicate the level of difficulty of our word. A very useful tool to help our schoolchildren with the most difficult words

The ever-increasing levels of difficulty will make this word game a challenge even for the most prepared players.

Of course, to play with words it would be enough to download some free applications and do everything on our touch screen.

But the fact of physically touching the tiles with the letters is another matter entirely. Playing Words is like composing a puzzle and the frantic search for the piece with the missing letter is sure to thrill children.

Numbers:

 calculating will become the passion of all the little ones. Lots of levels to learn to count and do calculations in the funniest way ever. Always with the help of some cards, numbers or dice, the little ones will be able to learn the basic rules of mathematics and begin to make their first calculations independently.

Tangram – we train logic.

Seven geometric shapes are used and players are asked to arrange them to form a shape that is displayed on the iPad screen. Players are motivated by using reinforcers such as lighting the correct piece when it is displayed on the iPad screen. This feature is a great tool for collaborative work between players, and between children and their parents.

The list could not miss one of the most famous games to train the intuition of the little ones. With Tangram, children will be able to reproduce the drawing on the screen on the surface using the molds provided. The ideal method to tickle their logic and intuition.

Newton:

Newton asks the players to deliver a ball that is falling from above and to a specific target. This feature enables the player (or group of players) to use tangible materials and arrange them in the playing space in a way that leads the ball to the goal. Besides tangible objects, the player can use a paper and pen to draw the path through which the ball will reach the goal.

for little scientists who want to learn about physics and gravity. Through the use of any object in front of the screen, the little ones will be able to learn the basic principles of physics. In fact, they aim to direct the ball on the screen to score goals, using a pen, keys or even grandma’s glasses. What better way to learn about physics and gravity?

Masterpiece:

space for creativity. The favorite game of all children who love to draw and color. The modern version of the classic window tracing or carbon copy design. Just place a sheet in front of the screen, select the design you want and follow the lines projected from the screen onto the surface to have a masterpiece that you can give as a gift or hang at home.

Little art lover in the family? Masterpiece will help him to easily make small masterpieces from the objects around us. Like Newton, Masterpiece requires nothing more than a piece of paper and a pencil to draw.

We choose an object from the Osmo library that we want to draw and start tracing the drawing. As if by magic, Osmo manages to overlay our drawing with the one on the screen, creating the illusion that we are actually drawing on the iPad screen.

Osmo also manages to simplify a photo taken by us and adapt it so that it can be drawn even by the most novice artists. And if that wasn’t enough, it also records the entire creative process by creating a nice time-lapse video of the creation of our masterpiece.

Coding Kit: for future tech professionals

The disciplines that are defined as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering-Engineering and Mathematics) are essential skills for the world, not just work, of the future. It is therefore important to introduce the little ones to this discipline and to encourage those who show an interest and inclination for the subject.

For future programmers, Osmo Coding Kit ($ 99.99) is the perfect game, as it helps build coding skills from scratch through engaging hands-on play. Osmo (Computer Vision System) technology analyzes the commands given by children through the blocks supplied and guides Awbie, the protagonist of the game, to solve critical problems.

To train children to think logically and problem solving, the Genius Starter Kit includes Tangram, inspired by the famous puzzle puzzle. The game is a great way to practice spatial and visual problem solving skills, challenging children with different levels of difficulty.

Pizza Co Starter Kit: for future chefs

With Osmo Pizza Co Starter Kit (69.99 euros) children can “manage” a pizzeria, creating pizzas and managing payments at the cash desk with the money in the box. The game teaches them the basics of math and how to run a business between costs and investments.

MyOSMO platform

A website with a dedicated personal area has been created for all Osmo users. On myOsmo we can upload our own drawings and time-lapse videos, create collections of words for Words and share them with others.

Through the MyOsmo platform it is also possible to assemble personalized cards with your own images and photos on any theme and topic, an engaging method to tell stories and learn to write in a natural and fun way!

Parents can also check player profiles – so each child (and adult) can play with different levels of difficulty, each their own, without worrying about interfering with another’s game.

Price

The Osmo Genius Starter Kit is available at a suggested retail price of €119.99 and can be found on Amazon at a discounted price.

Compatibility

Compatible iPads: iPad 2, iPad (3rd generation), iPad (4th generation), iPad (5th generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad (7th generation), iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4 , iPad Mini 5, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 3, and the 9.7-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Osmo is currently NOT compatible with the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. iOS version 9 or higher. An extra accessory is required to use Osmo on these devices.

The intuitiveness of programming

Making a character move on a screen and make him eat fruit is more like a game than a real educational initiative to teach programming. But this is precisely the spirit of the app according to the CEO of Osmo Pramod Sharma. In an interview with VentureBeat he said: “Coding is nothing more than putting things together to tell a computer what to do, like with lego bricks. It is a very intuitive action for children.

Our goal is to recreate that intuitive lego in a rich programming language in physical space “. Meanwhile, the importance of programming seems to have also been perceived by American politics. In February the news of a plan to bring coding to schools and make it a compulsory subject in the US: 4 billion dollars to teach computational thinking to students.

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