Published: 19th June 2019
How Skipy can help your child move away from the mobile screen and get creative!
If your child is forever hooked to the mobile screen and is wasting away all his or her time, then Skipy might just be the answer. Try getting this new gamified application soon
What started as an initiative to help Ajay Das’ son enhance his creative skills led to the launch of an EdTech start-up called Skipy. It seems like it was just a few months ago when Ajay was worried about his child being a passive consumer, spending all his time playing games or watching videos on the mobile phone. Therefore, Ajay decided to develop an app and a kit for children which turns them into creative creators instead of mindless consumers. Skipy, which actually refers to sketch, interact and play, is an app and a kit that engages children and encourages them to draw pictures and interact with their art through the app, which can be used on both phones and tablets.
Initially, when Ajay developed this kit, his child and his friends' children were the first customers who tested it. They loved it and generously offered feedback so that Ajay could work on improving the features. Taking it forward, he introduced Skipy in schools like Alphabeta Play School in Noida, The North West Public School in Bengaluru and EuroKids in Mumbai. He says, "When we introduced Skipy in schools, we had a limited number of stories on the app and the teachers requested us to increase the content so that students don't get bored. Now, we have around 10 stories, greetings and games and each kid can spend around half an hour drawing different characters of these stories. I think dedicating 30 minutes is enough for any kid to enhance skills like creativity, logic, reasoning and problem-solving."
Drawing time: Kids can use pencil, pen or anything to draw on the drawing pad
How Skipy works
The kit is designed using Augmented and Virtual Reality principles. It includes a drawing pad, a camera clip, a holding stand and a joystick. Once you receive the kit, all you need to do is download the Skipy app from Google Play store on your android phone and create an account on the app. Through this app, one can track the child's performance and give them rewards for their work. The app has features that are child-friendly and guide the child if they don't understand what to draw.
The mobile or tab is connected to the joystick provided in the kit. Children can draw characters as per the story or sketch greetings for their friends on the drawing pad. The drawing pad is designed in a way that the child can use either pen, pencil, sketch pens or crayons to draw. They can click on the blue button on the joystick and take a picture of the drawing on the mobile camera or tablet and press the blue button again to bring the picture to life. One can move this picture everywhere on the screen by using a joystick.
Explaining the importance of the joystick, Ajay says, "We actually call it a game controller and we designed it to ensure that children don't even have to touch the screen. I believe that this is how we can spark creativity among them. The joystick does all the tasks. Hence, there is no bond between the child and the screen. Similarly, the drawing pad gives the child the same feeling as drawing on paper does. For example, we have a story on the universe, planets and stars. Children can draw a rocket and how they draw it depends on their creativity. Some draw a rocket with two wheels, some might not want to have wheels on their rocket and so on."
While the kit costs Rs 1,499, on Amazon.in it is available only for Rs 950. The team also wants to include multi-lingual content in Skipy so that children from different states can use it. Ajay hopes that this will happen by the month of September.
Special greetings: Children can make greeting cards for their friends, teachers and anyone and share it with them on the phone
Learning made easy
Like every start-up, even Ajay's Skipy had to go through its own hurdles, but they did not take a long time to overcome them. "Whenever we approached parents or teachers, they would ignore us or say no, assuming children would be addicted to another kind of technology. But we gave them a demo, shared a few testimonials and showed them videos of children from our pilot projects that we conducted across various schools. Making them understand that technology can be evolved to help children with their skills was not a big task for us. Some parents and schools already knew that AR and VR are dominant factors in technology," says Ajay, who is now looking for partners to develop the content and expand his business. According to the latest numbers, Skipy has over 1,200 users. And this is just the beginning, folks!