Classroom walls and refrigerators are home to so many kids’ hand-drawn works of art, and now those drawings can come to life with Osmo Super Studio featuring Disney’s Mickey Mouse & Friends.
Augmented reality kids app maker Osmo has teamed up with Disney for the first time to combine its reflective artificial intelligence system with hand-drawn art. You simply attach the Osmo mirror to an iPad and start the Osmo Super Studio app. The app shows an image of Mickey Mouse that the child can physically draw on a paper notepad in front of the iPad. The app digitizes that drawing and animates the child’s image, putting into motion the static picture in a seamless way.
Drawing is a critical childhood activity linked to social and emotional development, according to research from the National Endowment for Arts. It’s also a way to ignite the imagination and create new worlds with beloved friends, said Pramod Sharma, CEO of Palo Alto, California-based Osmo, in an interview with GamesBeat.
Osmo is collaborating with Disney to bring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and all their pals to life in a magical new way.
“Kids really love it as it tests their imagination,” Sharma said. “For them, it’s so empowering because the characters they watch become their own. They can draw a hat for Donald Duck and make it as crazy as they can. We let the child start from a blank page” in contrast to children’s coloring books.
He added, “The idea was to use the Disney brand but not lose the playful learning of Osmo.”
Kids guide the story in Osmo Super Studio by supplying Mickey Mouse and Friends with real-world drawings that are “pulled” into the story’s digital world and by answering yes or no questions. It boosts kids’ creativity as they help to shape the storyline with whatever they imagine belongs in the tale. As the story progresses, characters ask for tools, toys, scenery and snacks to bring into their world. When kids are asked to draw Daisy they have the freedom to draw her as they see her – or how they’d like to see her – with a bow or an astronaut helmet.
“The power of computer vision and AI can bring a child’s imagination to life in new and innovative ways,” said Pramod Sharma, CEO and co-founder of Osmo. “This first-of-its-kind Reflective Animation experience bridges the world populated by the characters beloved by children of all ages with the creativity and artistic expression.”
Osmo’s proprietary Reflective AI technology allows the iPad’s camera to “see” physical objects in front of it. It’s at the heart of the Reflective Animation experience that gives kids a blank canvas to express themselves through story and by drawing their favorite Disney characters how they see them: any color, any size, any shape.
In a demo, Sharma showed how the whole thing works. The app gives kids instructions, saying things like “Now draw Donald’s bottom” while showing what the tailfeathers look like on screen. The camera can translate what the child draws on the dry erase paper to the screen.
Osmo Super Studio combines Disney characters and storytelling with the power of art and self-expression so kids can bring Mickey Mouse to life as they see him in their imaginations. The paper pad is five inches by seven inches, about the same as the iPad screen.
The project took about three years to complete.
“From the get go, we decided to focus on not just one intellectual property, but something that applies to many,” Sharma said. “The whole point here is that you already know the story or the brand, and you’re excited to draw it.”
Osmo Super Studio is targeted at kids ages 5 and up and is available as an add-on to existing Osmo sets for $19. Apple Retail Stores will carry an exclusive Super Studio Kit that includes an Osmo iPad Base for $59. The costs are lower than Osmo’s previous apps, allowing it to hit a wider demographic, Sharma said.
You can get Osmo Super Studio today at PlayOsmo.com and Amazon.com, and in Target and Best Buy stores starting Sept. 4. Osmo will also have Disney Princess and The Incredibles versions of the Osmo Super Studio as well.
Super Studio is the eleventh innovative experience to come to Osmo’s universe, which has surpassed a million users. Sharma started the company with Jerome Scholler. As parents, they were worried about how much time kids were spending on screens such as TVs and mobile phones. Their products are aimed at adapting to this modern environment and helping kids learn in a social way with real-world toys. Thousands of schools and educators now use their products. The traction has enabled the company to raise multiple rounds of funding (totaling $38.5 million) and expand to the iPhone.