Inspired by Montessori principles (as well as the cassette players of our youth), Yoto is an audio player that works with physical cards to give children back control over what they choose to play.
At its heart, Yoto is a modern take on a children’s Hi-Fi, with the clever stuff that comes from being ‘connected’, but without the concerns that come with open access to the internet.
Yoto plays a wide range of content: from favourite nursery rhymes and songs to get the kids dancing, to classic stories from authors like Roald Dahl, as well as podcasts and radio from around the world.
From learning the alphabet with phonics, and practising scales on the piano, to sound-effects for role-playing and acting out - Yoto is smart, but safe, and lots of fun, and we’re proud to show you what it can do.
Children simply choose a card they like, and slot it in the top of Yoto to make that content play. It’s as simple as that!
Yoto comes with enough cards to get you started, and you can order more cards at any time to be posted directly to your door. You can even make your own custom cards from songs and content you already own.
You can also choose to join the Yoto Club and, based on your child’s age and interests, we will curate a selection of cards that get delivered throughout the year, with content that evolves as your child develops.
Children love being in control - and with Yoto they control when they listen to content - but ultimately, via the Yoto parents app, you’re in control of what your kids listen to.
It’s a balance that we feel can get lost with other internet connected devices. Voice-recognition speaker systems can be great, but feel a bit creepy when used by children. Screen based gadgets like smartphones and tablets are amazing, but there's always the nagging fear of what’s three clicks away from that cute cat video on Youtube.
Yoto addresses both concerns. It doesn't have a microphone or camera to spy on your children. And its carefully curated ecosystem allows no access to internet nasties.
And throughout two years of testing Yoto with families in their homes, we’ve seen how well it works - for children and their parents.
The strength of Yoto is in the quality and range of the cards we offer, and we’re working flat out behind the scenes, building a library of content that we are truly excited about.
UPDATE (November 17th): We are thrilled to be able to announce that we are now working the Roald Dahl Literary Estate to bring the characters and stories from the world's number one storyteller to the Yoto Library.
Out of the box, Yoto will come with enough cards to ensure there is always something new to listen to. That’s because of the six smart ways that Yoto works:
This is the foundation on which the Yoto library is built, with stacks of cards that play all your
favourite music and stories, as well as new ones you may not have heard yet.
Music to get them dancing, nursery rhymes to sing along to, classical music (because it’s awesome) and modern hits to release their inner pop star.
We are teaming up with the good people at Roald Dahl to bring you stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG and much more.
As well as that, we have stories like the Three Little Pigs and Beauty and the Beast, the best of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit all commissioned by us with fresh narrations, as well as the best modern children’s literature reworked for Yoto - for which we are already in talks with some more of the best-loved children’s authors.
Where Yoto comes into its own, with cards that are interactive and educational. Designed around Montessori principles, learning can become a fun family activity.
Yoto can support language development with Phonics Cards, help them learn to count all the way to 100 with Numbers Cards, learn Shapes and Colours with cards that can also be used outside of Yoto as flash cards. Yoto can even help them start to master a second language with a range of content for the budding multi-linguist.
Tap into a world of family radio, with cards that stream live radio content from channels around the world, all hand picked by our team of editors.
(You could even use Yoto to listen to Radio 4 while you make the dinner - if you can drag your kids away from it.)
We are incredibly excited about podcasts, and the way they have opened up a world of ideas and thinking that is changing the way programming works. Podcasts are amazing - but it can be tricky to find the good ones from within all that choice. And playing them has always involved a screen, up to now.
Your Yoto cards automatically update to play the most recent podcasts from a particular show, and we scour the globe to bring you the best new dollops of wonderfulness.
Even without cards, Yoto can surprise, delight and inform - every day.
Yoto Daily is your daily update of the seasonal and the topical. Count down to Christmas with our advent calendar, hear a poem on World Poetry Day, get a funny joke to tell you friends, find fun facts to fascinate a fellow fellow, celebrate the first day of Spring, or the last man on the moon.
Yoto Daily can even tell you what the weather will be each day, which is actually really cool.
Got a library of 5,000 songs already? No problem - simply upload an album through the app and we’ll send you a Yoto card to make it play (or you can decorate your own 'mix tape' cards with stickers).
Want to record your own version of the The Three Little Pigs? Who wouldn’t? - just fire up the app and get huffing and puffing!
Got grandparents who miss the little ones in between visits? Sounds like us - if you download the app for them, recording a personalised story is as easy as making a phone call. And since the story is on the card, your child can hear it over and over again, whenever they like.
Yoto started with a hunch, that there must be a way to bring music and stories - and even connected content - to our own children without having to resort to phones and screens, and without having to dig the old CD player out of the loft.
But we knew we needed to test our ideas with other families, so we could be sure we were on the right track.
We’ve been sharing Yoto prototypes with families for the last two years, and without wanting to blow our own trumpet, we know it works.
We’ve seen early toddlers starting to explore a world of audio with nursery rhymes and animal sounds, right up to great big tweens getting hooked on science podcasts.
But don’t just take our word for it, watch our early prototype testers explain their experience with Yoto.
- RFID Card Slot - cards activate content with RFID technology
- Raspberry Pi - we are proud to use this wonderful mini (full) computer in Yoto
- 16x16 pixel LED display - 256 pixels allows us to illustrate basic concepts without getting in the way of the audio experience
- WiFi - Yoto connects to Wifi to stream live radio and to download new content
- 5W Audio - Yoto sounds good - no tinny sound here
- Illuminated Surfaces - the side and top surfaces of Yoto can illuminate to help bring audio content to life
- Buttons - two simple buttons allow you to skip content forward or back, and to adjust the volume
A Word on Openness
We don't believe in closed, proprietary technology or walled gardens so we plan to make Yoto as open a platform as possible, with APIs to allow developers to interface with Yoto.
Yoto was founded by Ben and Filip back in 2015 with a vision to make exciting technology and music products that kids can control without screens. Along the way, we have assembled a team of experts from the worlds of content, product design, technology, marketing and manufacturing as well as an experienced set of advisers and investors.
Our team has a strong track-record in building companies and delivering software and hardware projects.
- Tom, our Industrial Designer, is a Red Dot Design Award winner and has developed products that Apple chose to sell on its Apple Store.
- Ben helped build dotmusic (bought by Yahoo!) and then founded a digital music platform called 7digital - taking it public in 2014
- Filip is our technology whizzkid and created the 7digital API - used by companies like Samsung and Spotify
- Anthony founded and sold music marketing agency Frukt
- Carly has worked at Disney and Sony and has delivered projects for Lego and Kidzania
- Sarah is a ‘DigitalMum' and co-founder of the Great British Mums network
Yoto is first and foremost a labour of love for all of us, and we are taking a values-driven approach to everything we do.
We want the best for our children, and we want the best for your children, too. As a way to capture this way of thinking, we have started compiling the Yoto Manifesto, which is our promise that we'll always stay true to what we believe:
It's been quite a journey to get to Kickstarter. The last two years has consisted mainly of: burning our fingers on the soldering iron in Filip's shed; late night laser-cutting; trying not to cry as our prototypes got mauled by toddlers; feeling elated as our improvements started to work; and raising enough money to keep the lights on, and our dreams alive.
Along the way, we've been lucky to have support from friends, family and generally nice people to help us out, and for that we're truly grateful.
Here are some photos from our journey over the last two years...
We're determined to deliver a great product to our backers, and to do so on time. And our team has years of experience delivering hardware projects, so this is not our first rodeo.
Because we know - as the saying goes - hardware is hard, we've been developing Yoto from the outset with manufacturing in mind. And for a while now we've been speaking with our trusted network of partners - like plastics tooling and moulding people, and electronics design and manufacturing specialists - to help us develop a design that flows smoothly into production.
We plan to make the first batch of Yoto right here in the UK, so that we can be on the ground to work closely with these partners, and get Yotos to our backers quickly.
We have a Press Kit for journalists and bloggers. Or you can email us directly at email@example.com or get in touch by social media. We need your help to tell people about Yoto! Please share our Kickstarter campaign with your friends and families.
Thanks for taking time out to discover Yoto. Please back us and help us get the word out.
With gracious thanks, Ben, Filip, Tom, Anthony, Carly and Sarah and the families behind Yoto.
This campaign would not have been possible without the help of many people. A special thanks to Luke, Gideon, Bernie and Sarah and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate team, Rob and the BEAR team, Bart, Alex, Phoebe @ Objekt Films, Dave @ David Burton Photography, Jon, Paul and Niko @ Pimoroni, the team at Machines Room, Edspace, Jan @ Emerge, Tom @ BleepBleeps, Stephen Somerville, Alyssa Tisné, Helena Ambrosio, Steve Redmond, Ania, Peter Papp, Nina, Sofie + Lily, Susan and kids, Rob and kids, Chris Sice, Paul Ashton, Alex Johnston, Rainy Dias, Nina Mistry and many more...
Risks and challenges
Yoto has been under development for more than two years by a team with a proven track record of creating and delivering technology products and businesses. This is, however, our first product for children and, rightly, there are unique risks and regulations in the children's market.
We are working with manufacturing and electronics partners in the UK who have delivered many successful hardware products but we acknowledge that there could be unexpected and unforeseen manufacturing issues that may arise.
All video and photography you see on our Kickstarter page is actual live and working prototype versions of Yoto and Yoto has been designed with manufacturing in mind. We are confident that we can quickly to make Yoto but issues may crop up whilst in the manufacturing process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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