You’re not the only one who’s a little concerned about the hypnotic effect of screen time on your kids. A pair of former Googlers, Pramod Sharma and Jérôme Scholler, felt the same way, and so they developed a gaming platform called Osmo that connects the physical and digital worlds. The idea is that not only are kids engaged with that beloved screen, they’re engaged in physical activity as well, and the two merge to make the experience even better.
The Osmo device is a small, red, plastic device that snaps over your iPad’s camera that uses artificial intelligence and a built-in mirror to recognize your gestures and other inputs and responds accordingly. There’s also an Osmo dock you can pop the iPad into that keeps the device upright while the kids are playing.
There are three games available now for Osmo. In “Tangram”, kids put various shapes together to make an image, and Osmo gives them a picture to work from and rewarding “dings” when they get a piece in the right place. “Words” is a speed game where you compete against friends to guess and spell an onscreen word first using physical letter tiles. And “Newton”--by far the coolest--is a game where you draw lines or pictures on paper (or just put any old object on it) to guide falling balls on the screen.
The kit comes with everything mentioned above, and it normally costs $99, but for a limited time you can preorder one for $49 ($57 with shipping costs). You can download the digital portion of the games from the App Store.