David Papp Blog

The Osmo Gaming System where physical meets digital

Is interactive gameplay the future? Nowadays, more and more toy manufacturers are producing gaming systems that incorporate tangible toys that go hand in hand with digital gaming software, requiring physical engagement from the player.

What’s so great about this trend is that it requires players to be more present in their physical space. Players must toggle physical objects, as opposed to just toggling the screen to manipulate the game’s elements in a digital interface. It can engage and encourage creative thinking and motor skills in a fun, interactive way so it’s hardly surprising that this type of technology is trending among gaming systems targeted towards young children.

One of the latest gaming systems that use this combination of toys and digital apps in gameplay is the Osmo Gaming System.

This gaming system comes with a base that places an iPad on an upright position and a reflector that attaches to the iPad’s camera. The reflector uses reflective artificial intelligence to detect objects set on a flat surface in front of the iPad. It comes with three apps that you can download for free on the app store and three sets of game pieces that are made of wood. More details on the different games below.

The Tangram

A Tangram consists of 7 puzzle pieces that can form different shapes. The object of the game is to match the shape that shows up on the iPad screen. It may sound simple, but the puzzles get more difficult as you move forward in the game.


This game explores gravity and its objective is to make falling balls on the screen reach their target zone. You can use different types of objects around the house or draw on a piece of paper to create lines or even use your hands to make the balls reach their goal.


The game is about guessing a hidden word, using the letter pieces, through hints shown on the screen. It’s a fun game for children as it encourages quick thinking and cooperation or even friendly competition!

The Osmo Gaming System can be acquired for 40% off if you pre-order it online. The next batch of pre-ordered sets will be distributed by October 2014.

22 thoughts on “The Osmo Gaming System where physical meets digital”

  1. Hey this is pretty cool. The features are pretty limited though but still it would be the perfect toy/app for little kids. Instead of giving them the iPad to play senseless games, why not give them this to somehow enhance their creative and logical skills.

  2. Pretty primitive compared to technology available don’t you think? The Kinect by Microsoft could be used for so many things that are so much more advanced than this. We need to start looking at the following for future tech:

    Open Source – That way anyone can use it and modify the basic tech in anyway they want.

    Creative Commons – Again, technologies that are NOT copyrighted and locked down to one manufacturer who may or may not run with it depending on how much money they can suck out of the economy through it.

    I would not by my kids one of these, I’d get them a laptop and hook it to a 3d printer.

    • Couldn’t agree more. This all seems like a step backwards from what is capable with the Kinect. I’m not sure how it works, but I think it’d be amazing if the technology the Kinect uses to track player’s with extreme accuracy was included in more products, especially ones which are used for a wide variety of things, such as iPads. I think that could allow huge doors to open in consumer tech.

    • Yes, this seems to hardly offer anything innovative. The only upside I see about this is that it seems to be fairly simple and robust. Given how some parents actually give their young children iPads to “play” with, I could see a market for this product forming if they chose to remake their games into educational ones suitable for very young children.

  3. They look pretty fun. Where was this technology when I was a kid? It is a great way to revitalize the physical world for children, when more and more kids are pretty much glued to their screen. I remember playing with dirt, sticks and stones and it was fun! Kids these days honestly have no idea what all that is about.

  4. Hey this is cool! But is that all the game system offers? Just those few features? It would be great if they had more kind of like Lumosity where they have different activities for every aspect of your brain.

  5. I’m not so sure if this is going to be a hit. If you take a look at apps today they offer more than what this device can do. Maybe it will be a bit of a novelty for kids for a while but I don’t see them playing with it for more than a week.

  6. I still do not know how I feel about letting children handle an expensive item like an Ipad. On one hand it allows them to become more acclimatized to our technology saturated world. But on the other it is quite an investment to lose if they break it. Well at least with these games they are building some skills.

  7. This does not seem surprising and is very limited. There is far more revolutionized gaming equipment having physical interaction. Sony’s PlayStation Move and Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect are a few examples. The Wii MotionPlus is amazing as well. Besides, we have lots of stuff, like the Leap Motion and a motion camera by Creative which can be used on our Windows and Mac desktops.

    Video gaming has one major criticism: Low or no physical interaction. This tends to make video gamers unhealthy and even obese. With the development of such motion gaming technology, one day, no video gamer would be ‘fat’. This would be really amazing. It’s good to see technology developing in a positive way in terms of fitness and health.

  8. Wow! This is something I would have totally bought for my kids when they were little had it been available. I think it’s a great way to engage kids with actual hands on tasks. Plus, it isn’t a lot of equipment to haul around and needs very little space to set up and let them play and learn.

  9. Very impressive. This is a great way for children to learn better my using technology and being able to interact with objects. This product really needs to expand to all types of devices. Technology is growing more and more each day and eventually they will have game systems where you will be able to be in them virtually and experience all of the actions.

    • I was thinking this game would be great for kids who are around 5 and 8, no more. I think it’s a great way to stimulate them, way better than playing one of those video games that don’t teach them much.

      Actually when you want to stimulate the brain of a baby early, you need to expose him to several objects he can touch, objects of different sizes, colors and textures he can play with. That stimulates the brain of the baby. This is similar, but more modern!

  10. I welcome this idea, I think such a feature should be promoted as it helps us take our eyes of the screen. I admit that my eyes are always glued to my screen, but I wish the some of the kids I know spent less time staring at the screen. But you just can’t seem to stop them. That is why I love the idea, kids would be forced to take their eyes of the screen and engage real world objects. I am certainly looking forward to gaming move towards this direction.

  11. This is so cool, I wish I had things like this when I was growing up. I can see something like this bringing out the creativity in the young minds that use it. Its still doesn’t beat my GI Joe action figures lol.

  12. I think this is a great idea. Kids love to play with screens and apps but there’s something good about the tactile nature of physical games that will help them develop coordination and other skills. This puts both of those things together. I think they’ll appreciate the novelty and want to play all day.

  13. Hmm, this is interesting, a bit different and more creative than the mundane attempts of nintendo with the Wii console. Although this can change the way games are played, new ideas can lead to many innovative games that can actually help young children to boost their intelligence quotient levels, their imaginative and creative ability, and their ability to work different ways out to a problem. If this technology ever finds it’s way to the mainstream market, We can confidently say that the coming generations would be more smart and witty than the current generation, although that could turn out for the good or bad.

  14. This system tries to ally physical and digital, but it makes things even more complicated… Plus, it seems to be avalable only on the app store, whereas more and more people are on Android.

    Do we really want to encourage our children to play in front of the screen, even if they will use some physical objects at the same time ? I think it’s better for them to play classic games, such as legos or those kind of things. That’s my point of view, but I know today’s parents would not agree with me… It’s a pity…

    • Not many children play with legos anymore, so sorry to burst your bubble, but a lot kids are digital now than they were 5 years ago. No more ”classic” games. All they want to do is play a video game and that’s it. T

      This is a great idea in my opinion (Osmo) it could be the only thing that could awake the interest of the children for this kind of games… closer to the ”classic” games you were referring to.

  15. All of these new games look like some sort of a place-emotion sequence where the player experiences sequence transitions. They might be frightening for beginners. Also, they may appear to be more difficult than they really are, which may also make them appear a bit primitive. They work on our problem solving ability/skill and progressively lead us to solutions. I would get one of them, but I am not sure my kids would still be putting up with the game by lunch time.

  16. I think those games are a very modern version of the good useful games kids used to play many years ago, but over the years they have forgotten about. This kind of games are great because they do stimulate children, much better than the average video game if you ask me. They’re very rudimentary games with a very modern twist! I think it’s a nice way to awake the interest of kids on those games, but the competence out there is tough! Nice of the creators to invest on this and give it a try tho.

  17. I’m glad to hear about something like this. Games like these give the children much needed creative freedom, so they definitely will benefit from putting their mind to the challenge than to just sit there moving their fingers across a screen. This will help keep their minds sharp. Fantastic idea that deserves to be trending.

  18. Amazing. Perfect gift for your child, if you aren’t too worried about the cost. OGS is really a revolutionary piece of technology in the field of education. It combines the fun of playing with a computer with actual learning; something everybody’s been trying to do since the 90’s, with minimal effort.

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