Gail Chiasson, North American Editor
While this particular product isn’t digital signage, it’s a new product under PO-MO Inc. that is, yet another one we see, using crowdfunding to raise funds to further its development and bring it to market.
Po-Motion, a software developer of engaging, interactive displays for consumers and businesses, has announced a Kickstarter campaign for LUMO, believed to be the world’s first interactive projector for kids.
Currently in prototype, LUMO builds on existing projection technology while also providing a unique, software-driven interactive learning experience for toddlers and children.
LUMO and Po-Motion are subsidiaries of Canadian firm PO-MO Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba. Po-Motion provides a software platform to easily create engaging, interactive displays projected on any surface. It is the software used to design LUMO’s platform.
The LUMO Kickstarter campaign was announced September 13, with nine pledge levels to fund the transition of LUMO from working prototype to consumer product ready for the market. LUMO is a software-driven interactive toy that projects images and games onto the floor. Additionally, LUMO provides children with the tools they need to customize — and even create — their own interactive worlds and games.
“LUMO has been tested internally at Po-Motion, and the innovative interactive projection technology is a fun and exciting way for children of all ages to learn and entertain themselves,” says Meghan Athavale, CEO, PO-MOtion. “Using Kickstarter, we hope to bring LUMO out of the prototype phase and make it generally available in Feb./15.”
LUMO emphasizes creative and learning with interactive software targeted at ages 1-4, 4-8 and 8-12+, respectively. A sensor in the projector tracks motion to sense how a child is interacting with the projected images and makes changes appropriately.
For infants and pre-schoolers, LUMO offers abstract cause and effect interactions, providing them with experiential scenes that help them better engage with the physical world. For ages 4-8, included games aim to help children develop their large motor skills. And older children have the ability to use tool templates to customize their games by drawing their own images and swapping them for existing game assets. The developer tool offers children a simple drag-and-drop interface and will eventually include full development features so kids can create their own games.
The LUMO Kickstarter campaign, which ends October 31/13, gives potential investors of all sizes a chance to help the company build towards a $200,000 goal needed to take the product to the next step.
While PO-MO may be unfamiliar to many, our regular readers may remember the company as having launched an interactive wall and floor product and a special installation for children at the Maitoba Children’s Museum last year.
“We’ve been doing well with about 1,000 installations of different types worldwide,” says Athavale. “In June, we launched a digital signage project for Amobee, which was acquired by SingTel in Singapore, for its new office. Our most recent installation was for a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Capetown.”
“PO-MO itself is essentially an R&D company,” says Athavale. “PO-MO Inc. is the parent company and Po-motion and LUMO are subsidiaries, but Po-motion is the software platform used to design LUMO’s platform. We spun them off into their own companies because they are run by different people (but all jointly owned by my partner Curtis Wachs and myself) and because they have different business models and investment. For investment purposes, it makes sense to associate them because they are both end-user products.”
Then why a kickstarter campaign?
“Because we want to develop it and bring it to market ourselves,” says Athavale. “We want to be first on the market with this, and after spending three-and-a-half years on its development, we don’t think anyone else could beat us to market. We know that if we just simply sold it to Hasbro or a similar company, that they’d just put their own games on it. We do provide about 12 basic games, but the whole idea behind it is to have children develop their own games, to have control, to develop their imagination. We have stretch goals for it, too, but that’s ‘was down the line.
“It’s a safe product, and with easy tools. If kids can use the tools we develop, then for sure advertisers can! We believe we can get this to market to sell for approximately $300. And it should last for many, many years. The bulb life is ultra long life.
“What we have now is a prototype. We’ve been invited to show it at BitNorth (an annual informal tech conference attended, as described to us, as a mix of geeks and investors – Ed.) but we want to bring a Beta version to the next Toy Fair for our first commercial showing. To develop this further, we need funds – hence, the Kickstarter campaign.”
And while there are no current plans to sell LUMO or any other product developed under PO-MO, Athavale is thinking ahead.
“Every time we commercialize a product, it gets spun into it’s own company and ultimately staffed with people outside the original R&D team. That way if we ever sell the subsidiary, we retain the R&D arm which is the part we love the most, but also the part that’s hardest to assign a value to.”