Only a third of children read at least once a day and the number of children who don’t read at all is falling at an alarming rate of 8% per year. It’s not surprising, really. Kid’s technology is engrossing, and the brightest of all light bulbs for our young moths is the not-so-humble iPad. In just five years it has made a home in 50% of households with 20% of households planning to get one. A pram designed to stick one in front of a baby’s face invokes thoughts of Wall-E (film) in which every soul zooms around on electric chairs equipped with eye level screens. Do we want a world like that one? Because I don’t think we have any Wall-E shaped robots to save the day yet. In a simpler setting we’d ban children from technology. Ridiculous as it sounds, some parents do. But there could be a real opportunity to create an entirely new kind of entertainment. One that takes the magic of technology and sprinkles it onto traditional books to literally bring the story to life.
Dara is an attempt at that, and it looks brilliant. Margara Tejera, Dennis Ippel and their team want to change the way children’s books are consumed. Placing a tablet in front of the book evokes augmented reality characters who pop up from the pages and zoom around the room like it’s Borrower theatre. Their personalised character is guided through a story of their choosing, which could be anything from building a time machine and going off to see dinosaurs to using a laser gun to accidentally destroy the book. Each time the story is different; a new adventure to be had.
The traditional-tech mashup has great potential with decades of content waiting to be refreshed.
We are looking forward to when depth sensors become ubiquitous and we can create interactions between our 3D characters and children’s everyday toys. For the next few years we plan to both develop our own books and build partnerships with publishers to create AR content for existing titles. -Margara Tejera
Margara developed the idea while at Entrepreneur First. The accelerator takes on budding entrepreneurs and talents with the aim of building teams before any kind of idea is dreamt up, however the project required specialists, so she took her search to Linkedin. Here she discovered now CTO Dennis and later on author/ illustrator Valentina Mendicino and publishing expert Sara O’Connor.
Margara and Dennis have a small amount of funding to take the idea forward but are seeking £20k on Indiegogo to go all the way. Their crowdfunding campaign will begin on the 26th of Oct so keep an eye on their website for details of how to back it.