Scott’s Toy Box: Tech that Interacts with You
When I was young, I had twin imaginary friends named Michael (yes, my first name) and Michelle. I don’t remember actually playing with them regularly, but I do remember a spirited lunch discussion when I claimed to my real friends that Michael and Michelle were playing on the ceiling fans. I think one of the greatest things about imaginary friends is that you can interact with them when you are alone. This month in the toy box I want to focus on a toy that brings your iPad to life and in one of their games creates a friend for you to interact with.
The toy is called Osmo. It’s a game system that you can connect to your iPad. There is a little stand that props up your iPad and a part that connects to the front facing camera. The Osmo games use your camera to view what you place in front of it and respond to it. If you want to buy just the game system you can find it in the playosmo.com shop for $19 but it also comes bundled into a kit with some games. The Genius Kit costs $99 and comes with 3 games and the Explorer Kit costs $189 and comes with 5 games.
The Osmo game that reminds me of having imaginary friends is Monster. Mo is an orange fuzzy animated monster that lives inside your iPad. When he requests an object, you draw it and your real life drawing will inhabit Mo’s digital world. The Monster app is included in the creative set that comes with a board to draw on, 6 erasable markers and a cloth to clean off the board. The creative set costs $49 on playosmo.com and is one of the games included in the explorer kit.
The newest Osmo game is called Pizza Co. This game gets down to business, the pizza business, by setting you up as the owner of a pizza shop for some animal clientele. When your animal customers come in they’ll order a pizza that you have to make using a pizza tray and toppings that come with the game. Once their pizza is made they will pay for it and you’ll have to flip the try over to make your counter and give them their change with some money that also comes with the game. This is a fun way to learn math and to keep your costumers happy since they’ll let you know when you make something they don’t like. Pizza Co. costs $39 on playosmo.com.
M. Scott Anderson is a Hattiesburg native and lives in Jackson. He also uses technology to make pizza (by ordering from Pizza Hut).