Now that TuTu's Kickstarter campaign is wrapped up, check her out at www.roamandwander.com
Imagine a world where bunnies talk, the sun is always smiling, and teddy bears are made of stars. This is the land of Roam & Wander, a world of the fantastic and wonderful, where daydreams spring to life and imaginations run free.
Meet TuTu, a pink, plush bunny rabbit meant to inspire your child to creativity and wonder. We had the initial ideas to "bring toys to life through apps" in 2010-2011, and the concepts for how to bring TuTu to life began to come together in the summer and fall of 2012 as we were getting ready to publish Sticker Games - our first major game, where TuTu made her first appearance.
We're excited to reintroduce TuTu as a real-life, iPhone or iPod Touch-enabled toy, creating new and exciting experiences for children at play and bringing apps and toys together—fostering play with purpose.
Play is important—especially for kids
At Roam & Wander, we believe in play with purpose. Studies show how important play is for life. It’s a doorway to learning, providing an outlet for creative and emotional expression. It’s important for healthy brain development, and helps children make sense of the world and prepares them for healthy relationships.
TuTu inspires real life play, the kind that unleashes a lifetime of imagination for your child.
Pink, plush, and comes to life through your iPhone
iPhone apps for kids are nothing new. There are thousands available on the market, and in many ways touch screen devices have replaced television for kids. But as digital experiences for children grow, we lose something—that sense of wonder that comes with physical play. TuTu is more than an app—it’s a plush, physical toy powered by an iPhone app. TuTu brings the world of apps and toys together in a new, exciting way.
A new way to play
TuTu teaches engagement and interaction, and she helps unlock the world of imagination for your child, one where he or she cares for and takes responsibility for his or her own stuffed animal.
Through games and activities, kids can know and learn more about this world. These games and activities are fun but not overly challenging, designed to build up kids' confidence and inspire interactive play in new ways.
TuTu’s app includes six fun and engaging games in addition to a set of touch-enabled accessories, a heart-shaped ring that tells TuTu you love her, a milk box for when she’s thirsty, and a toothbrush that cleans her teeth when she’s done eating, which kids can use to care for and play with TuTu.
When TuTu feels sleepy, she asks to be rocked to sleep. When she feels hungry, she asks for carrots or milk. When she finishes her meal, she asks to have her teeth brushed. These are everyday activities in the life of your child. Through this sequence of designed interactions, kids are inspired to take responsibility not only for TuTu but also for themselves.
More than just digital
Kids love playing games on iPhones, but playing with a smart device shouldn’t come at the expense of real-life interaction. Physical objects are important to kids’ growth and development. And by combining both toys and apps, kids play in a way that is both physically and mentally engaging.
TuTu’s plush fur and her other accessories, like her toothbrush, help create a more engaged sensory experience—through touch and feel—while at the same time making the best use of new technologies.
Play with purpose
Toys have changed over the years, and yet, they have stayed the same. From prehistoric arrangements of sticks tied together with grass to robots that respond to voice commands, toys and dolls are timeless and universal—all kids, at all times, play.
We want to bring purpose back to the way kids play with digital technology. With TuTu, children learn life skills and responsibility. They learn care and kindness. At Roam & Wander we view technology as a creative canvas, and we’ve created a physical toy experience for kids for fun and learning through touch-enabled toys.
Just the beginning
We believe in harnessing imagination for good. Not only will the app evolve through updates based on user feedback, but we will continue to drive and deliver the development of interactive apps and platforms—helping your child play for life.
Manufacturing and Logistics
- We are confident about delivering TuTu. The people on our team have managed and delivered several major consumer hardware and software projects, including commericial touch toys for iOS devices, and all of Roam & Wander's partners are experienced career manufacturing and toy professionals.
- We have great partners. We have four hardware partners, all based in Taiwan. Logistica acts as an overall project manager for the stuffed animals and plastic toys, including design for manufacturing advice, freight/shipping/import management with our manufacturers, and safety certification. Our other key partners are plastic toy manufacturers and stuffed animals makers. The fourth partner is a multinational polymer/plastics maker who has helped us dial in the conductive ingredient 'recipe' for the toys, working closely with us, Logistica, and our toy manufacturer.
- We're on a roll. The first 1000 stuffed bunny toys have been manufactured, quality tested, and certified by an international safety testing lab, and are sitting in our studio ready for distribution! We have used these production bunnies for playtesting with kids to make sure they are safe and easy to use. We have two suppliers (the original supplier and a larger supplier that is one of the world's largest stuffed animal makers) ready to produce more bunnies if and when we need to produce more.
- We're ready for more. The plastic touch toys have gone through every step up to the point where we need to make the big investment in creating production tools to mass produce the toys using plastic injection molding. We've gone from sketches to clay and 3D printed models, then to machined toys made from solid blocks of the special conductive plastic from our plastic vendor, and we've also created 3D printed samples based on the final CAD drawings that will be used to make the production molding tools. Once we meet the Kickstarter campaign goal, we will start to make the production tools.
- Machine the production tools for the toys
- Manufacture and assemble the very first sample production toys using the molds and test them for safety, function, appearance, and durability. (If necessary, we will make minor adjustments to the production tools.)
- Manufacture and assemble the first 'production line' batch of 300-500 production toys using the molds and test them for safety, function, appearance, and durability, and verify that the QC processes identify any toys that don't have the right level of touch function.
- Produce the first regular full scale batch of 1000+ toys
- Submit the TuTu app to Apple for distribution in the App Store
- If we need to manufacture more TuTu stuffed animals (more than the 1000 we already produced), manufacture the extra batch based on the final order numbers from Kickstarter.
- Finalize and manufacture the TuTu packaging (box)
- Pick and pack the toys in the final packaging
- Confirm delivery addresses for Kickstarter backers
- Ship TuTu out!
How Do TuTu’s Toys Work?
Part of what makes TuTu special is how she interacts with her toys. We’ve taken care to choose interactions that are tangible, simple, and fun, and we’ve worked hard to create toys that function safely and reliably.
The toys use conventional capacitive-resistive technology, using the same principles that have been used in touchscreen devices since the 1990s. We’ve designed each toy to be passive rather than active, which is safer for kids, and we’ve chosen to use ABS plastic as the main ingredient because it’s almost universally used for kid’s toys.
From the perspective of your phone, each touch toy looks just like a couple of fingers, or a stylus. Your phone passes these touch inputs to the TuTu app, and using a combination of capacitive tuning and unique selection of contact points, TuTu can recognize which toy is touching the screen. By varying the material properties for each toy, we’ve designed some of the interactions between the child and the Tutu toy to be firm and elastic, while other interactions are more fluid and dynamic.
The TuTu iOS app and toys are designed to work with an iPhone or iPod Touch with iOS 4.3 or above.
Meet the TuTu Team at Roam & Wander
Help TuTu Get Kickstarted!
We've taken the concept for the TuTu toy from sketches through to complete prototypes, and now we're ready to put the plastic toys and stuffed animals into full production. We're launching TuTu on Kickstarter to raise funds for the production tooling for the plastic toy, and to complete the safety testing and certification.
Introduce your friends to TuTu
We believe kids and parents will love TuTu! In addition to helping support this project through your pledge, please also consider introducing TuTu to your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, and more. With your help, we can make TuTu a reality!
Risks and challenges
This is our second product, but our first toy. We've created and launched a successful iPad app, Sticker Games, where TuTu makes her first appearance.
There are three parts to the TuTu experience, the plush toy, the app, and the plastic toys. The lowest risk is from the stuffed toys, we've gone through a lot of prototypes and 6 months of playtesting, and have produced a batch that has been fully tested and certified. We've been working on the TuTu app since 2012, and based on our progress and previous experience launching apps and games, we're confident that this will be polished and ready on schedule.
The biggest challenge for delivering the full TuTu experience for your kids is producing and testing the final plastic toys. The designs have gone through dozens of iterations and hundreds of tests, and we've produced molded toys and machined toys with the right level of interactive function to work with the TuTu app. The second-to-last step is to create the production tooling for the plastic injection molds, produce and test the initial production samples, and verify that the toys function properly and certify them according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. Once the toys are verified, the last step is to produce the full batch of toys for everyone, package everything up, and ship them to you!
We're working with experienced manufacturing and logistics partners from the toy and consumer electronics industries to put the toys into production, and if we encounter issues we will use tried and true engineering principles to solve the root cause issues - and your kids' safety and the quality of the TuTu experience will be our priorities.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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