Japan’s smart-toy startup Moff ties up with PBS KIDS, launches learning app in US

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See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Moff, offering a wearable smart toy called Moff Band, has made a further progress in North America, followed by fundraising 1.6 million yen (about $1.3 million) from Japanese gaming giant Bandai Namco Entertainment (TSE:3832), mobile gaming developer Orso, investment company TomyK, and other angel investors in September. Moff recently announced the launch of its first intellectual training app called PBS KIDS Party, jointly developed with America’s major educational media brand PBS KIDS.

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Moff Band[/caption]

Connecting with Moff Band, Moff’s flagship smart bracelet device, the new app allows users to play games such as freeze dance, Piñata burst or countdown to launch a rocket by swinging their arm. It’s an educational content developed as a compilation of PBS KIDS’ knowledge on creating learning content and Moff’s product offering gamification experience through the connected smart device.

Upon launch of the new app, Moff CEO Akinori Takahagi made the following comment:

While this partnership gives us a number of merits, the most significant part of it is that we could create the content considering the cultural background and characteristics of the US. Thanks to PBS KIDS taking on all tasks in the content creation, we were able to focus on engineering and technology development. Using the app, children can learn with their familiar characters under the highly-reputed mega brand, which gives them and their parents a sense of security.

In the joint app development process between Japan and the US, he said that his team had been struggling upon communication due to language barriers and time difference but they appointed a bilingual project manager to surmount these issues.

Takahagi then elaborated his plan and prospect for the future:

We will continue developing more intellectual training apps. Compared to passive desultory viewing of displayed content, inculcation utilizing gestures will better benefit kids. Since wearable devices are becoming more commonplace, we foresee a huge demand from content holders. Looking ahead, we want to explore more partnerships with various businesses.

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Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy and Masaru Ikeda

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