Smart Toys + Curious Children = An Opportunity!
Hi! We are Jeremy and Chris, and we are both fathers. We each have young children at home, and we are amazed at how curious our kids are about the world around them. They are constantly asking questions about everything - What is lightning? How do birds fly? How does an iPhone work? Today's toys and apps don't help to answer those questions or encourage a love of learning. We have a solution. Our awards show the community agrees:
- "Dad, I want that!" my son shouted as I watched the Youtube video for TROBO, a robot toy created by two guys who know a thing or two about fun. - Ventito
- "TROBO does more than just chatter at kids..." - TechCrunch,
- "Two central Florida dads [use their experience] to give kids a jump start on some important skills." - FOX 35,
- "Beginning with something as simple as a stuffed robot regaling children with STEM stories sounds like a good place to start." NationSwell,
- and more.
We are also Engineers. Engineers who worked in the theme park and video game industries alongside some of the greatest storytellers in the world. It was from that experience that we realized, "maybe we can build a better mousetrap." Except - in this case - this mousetrap was a cuddly robot. From our early user testing, families agree:
Along Came TROBO!
TROBOs are lovable, huggable plush toy robots that teach kids about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through fun, interactive digital storybooks. TROBOs answer kids questions through engaging stories grounded in real science to explain complex subjects in fun ways that kids can understand.
We create an emotional bond between the child, the story and the TROBO characters, which encourages further learning. This is done by creating a series of lovable characters that the child can hold and hug; we bring children a companion first and an educational toy second.
Add Your Child To the Adventure with TROBO's Avatar Builder
TROBO has an avatar builder where parents can design an avatar of their child and put them in the stories with TROBO. Parents can input the child's names into the stories! The child is the star of the story, and they get to go on adventures with TROBO!
Stories and Characters
All of the stories are presented in a playful storybook format and include an interactive puzzle element every few pages to keep the kids engaged. Our first two TROBOs are Edison and Curie. More characters are coming soon!
The coolest part of TROBO is that the plush toy talks! TROBO can read the stories to the child before the child can read on their own. It opens up science and engineering from an earlier age, so they can be amazed at all of the incredible things happening around them and fall in love with learning.
Extreme Huggability - NO big, hard parts!
Shown above is Asher's first EVER reaction to TROBO. A hug is worth a thousand words. From the very beginning we have designed TROBO to be soft and encourage touching. It has no heavy, bulky, large mechanics inside of it, ensuring a child can take it anywhere he or she wants without being cumbersome. The TROBO plush is soft enough for the child to sleep with and is machine washable.
Puzzles and Questions
TROBO's interactive puzzles every few pages encourage repeat play and reinforce the topics being taught. TROBO's questions at the end reinforce learning too.
So What Do I Get With TROBO?
We're glad you asked! If you pre-order a TROBO, you get your choice of Edison or Curie and a code to download the app and the first 5 stories.
To run the app, you will need either an iPhone or IPad running iOS 7 or greater. If we reach our first stretch goal below, we will be introducing an Android version but for now we are launching on iOS.
Most importantly, you enable us to create more stories, such as the ones below.
Endless Stories for Endless Inspiration
The possibilities are truly endless. Here are JUST A FEW of the hundreds of ideas we have in our library of stories to tell. By backing us, YOU get to vote on our next 4 stories. Will they be one of these stories, or an idea YOU have?
- Physics: How does a slingshot work? What is Gravity? What is Electricity?
- Chemistry: How does toothpaste fix your teeth? How is ice made?
- Earth Sciences: What is thunder? Why is the moon sometimes out during the day?
- Medicine: How do you fix bones? What is snot made of?
- Biology/Anatomy: How does my heart work? How do we hear music? Are insects animals?
- Hundreds more..
- How does plumbing work?
- How do cars go?
- What makes rockets go?
- How does an iPhone work?
- What's the Internet?
- What is a 3D printer?
- Hundreds more...
- Mechanical: Why do I go faster, when I pedal my bike?
- Electrical: Why do light bulbs glow? How does a battery work?
- Software: How do robots work?
- Chemical: How can I make an egg float in water? Why is water so slippery?
- Hundreds more...
- PreK - 1st grade Math: Addition - If I hug mommy three times today and 5 times tomorrow, how many is that?
- 1st grade Math: Geometry – With a square, a triangle, and a rectangle, I can build a house like mine. How many do I need to build daddy's office building?
- 2nd grade Math: How hot does this thermometer say it is in here?
- Hundreds more...
How We'll Use the Funds
1.Manufacturing the Plush Toys: Bringing a toy to market is expensive, but we have done our homework. We have developed our first story, received our first and second rounds of plush prototypes, and we have partnered with a manufacturer that will help build our TROBOs.
2. Safety Testing: Toys undergo a significant amount of safety testing before they ship. Although the materials we have chosen for TROBOs have already been tested, TROBOs will undergo more of those tests as complete products.
3. Develop the Scripts and Art for the 4 remaining Stories and the rest of the application: A lot of work goes into making a story. These funds will be used to:
- create the story scripts
- create the 2D TROBO characters
- create the 2D character avatars
- the backgrounds
- the props they hold
- the clothes they wear
- the puzzles
4. We also need to build the infrastructure of the app, which includes:- A storefront, so owners can buy more stories later
- Saving user settings (name, gender, TROBO character, etc...)
- Support for TROBO on multiple devices
- Quality Assurance and debugging of the application
Our awesome rewards range from our eternal gratitude all the way up to a TROBO party!
Also, we have a special reward program (available at several different reward levels) called TROBO for Kiddos. We realize that every child does not have equal access to a quality science education, so we want to help get TROBOs into the hands of underserved kids. For any of our rewards where you get a TROBO, you can tell us to send it in your name to the school of your choice, or we will send it to one of several STEM programs that we have partnered with.
Help Us Inspire a Love of Learning
As parents, we want the best for our kids, and we would do anything to support them. In our case, we wanted to give them a fun way to engage their curiosity by providing a lovable companion that could answer their questions through fun stories.
We have learned so much from watching children engage with the TROBOs, and we can't wait to bring TROBOs to kids everywhere!
Thank you for your support, and don't forget to tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter about TROBO!
Note for Canadian backers, we're asking for an extra $10 in your pledge to help offset the heavy shipping fees. Note we can't update rewards to say we'll ship to Canada; KICKSTARTER locks down everything about a reward, once someone pledges it. They will still say US Shipping only.
1.Android support will be added, if we raise $100K. If you are an Android user, please pledge for some amount, so you can stay in touch with our project. :]
We are a Day 1 project on KickTraq. Select below, if you want to see how our project progresses over time.
Risks and challenges
We have done as much of our homework as possible upfront. We have identified a manufacturer that has built our prototypes, and we feel comfortable that they can scale up and build as many TROBOs as we need. While we have price quotes and delivery times for manufacturing, there is always the possibility that something could pop up that could either delay manufacturing or force us to find a new manufacturer. This could include - failure to abide by price quote, material availability, issues integrating our technology, compliance issues, weather issues, etc. We will continue to work with our manufacturing partner to mitigate these issues.
The other big challenge centers on app development. While we feel confident that we can finish the app programming, the amount of time it will take to finish the app largely depends on how much money we raise in this campaign. The more we raise, the more resources we can throw at story, art and app development. We have budgeted a conservative estimate of the 2015 Holiday season for delivery with the assumption that we will be ready to ship by then. We have tons of other feature, character and story ideas, but we want to deliver on our core product first.
The other risk is based on Apple's continued introduction of new versions of the iOS operating system and our use of specific features within the OS. We are using specific features that are currently only available in iOS 7 and newer. Therefore, TROBO software can only be installed on iPad 2 and later iPads as well as iPhone 4 and newer iPhones. However, as Apple introduces new versions of iOS, it is possible that they could render a critical TROBO feature obsolete or change its implementation thereby forcing us to alter our development strategy. This could either result in the need to find an alternate approach, modify the functionality, or - in the worst case - abandon a feature entirely. We have tried to allow for alternate approaches to accommodate such an issue were to arise, but - in the interest of full disclosure - this is a potential risk.
While we would like to offer international shipping for TROBO, it is difficult to do so during this Kickstarter campaign. International shipping is expensive and safety and compliance testing for Europe and Canada represents a significant expense. We have budgeted for US safety and compliance testing as part of the Kickstarter campaign and we will conduct the testing for Canada, Europe and Asia when we are ready for the international product launch.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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