At the end of March, the winner of our very own BeMyApp Factory Hackathon, Hardboiled Labs, hatched a brand new interactive gadget that can turn learning music into a fun game for
children. The Wavo (formerly known as Egg Beats), a motion and pressure-sensitive egg that creates music, connected to a mobile interface that records sounds as colors, is poised to captivate children everywhere in the near future.
The Wavo, step by-step:
Hardboiled Labs has been hard at work since the end of the hackathon, working on building their prototype. I sat down with them and asked them a few questions so you can all get to know them and what the Wavo is about.
Hardboiled Labs Eggsplain themselves:
S: What’s the core idea behind the Wavo?
HL: Our team has a ton of collective experience with both electronic toys and music, so it was a no brainer that we built something that reflected those passions! Wavo allows you to “play with” music, much like you would play with a game or a toy, and generate visual stories and art as a result of that. The idea of ‘play’ is super important to us, especially free-form play that doesn’t necessarily have win/lose conditions like a traditional game.
S: What kind of learning curve do you expect children will have with Wavo? will there be a way to build on one’s skills as they progress and become more advanced?
HL: That’s a great question! We see the Wavo as one way to bridge the gap between the kinds of existing musical toys kids already have (xylophones, noise-makers, etc) and formal musical notation. There’s a huge gap there! We want to introduce kids to the ideas of pitch, tone and rhythm in a visual, interactive context, and then gradually help them understand what that looks like in musical notation. We also see a lot of people out there experimenting with non-formal graphical visualization of music (super inspired lately by what the students in UC Berkeley’s Multimedia Orchestra are doing!) and it’d be awesome to expose younger kids to artistic expression of that sort as well.
S: What else is interesting about your product from a technology standpoint?
HL: Our team is really keen on making sure we give back to the tech and hacker communities that fostered so much of our personal learning and growth, and one of the ways we’re trying to do that is by building an open API for the platform. Our goal is to allow developers to easily grab the raw data coming from the Wavo itself to generate their own visualizations and sounds. There’s
only so much we can do as a team, and we’re in our own little bubble of knowledge – other folks might approach the API totally differently, make crazier visualizations or even hack the Wavo themselves and build something new! That’s something that gets us really excited.
S: What effect do you think this will have on the children that play with the Wavo and their interest in music?
HL: Hopefully a positive one! There are a lot of different ways kids can get started with more traditional music education – we see ourselves as a sort of parallel, complementary path. Kids that play with Wavo and experience the kind of interaction that we’re aiming to build might take that skillset and use it in conjunction with learning to read sheet music and playing an instrument. Or, they could find an interest in storytelling or game design because of our product, and start honing skills in that area as well! The end goal isn’t necessarily to push kids into formal music education, it’s to give them an opportunity to explore music in conjunction with a lot of other artistic forms.
Check out this video of an early Wavo prototype made at the hackathon, back when its moniker was still Egg Beats, playing Mary Had A Little Lamb:
BeMyApp is working closely with Hardboiled Labs to help them launch a crowdfunding campaign and is providing them with consulting sessions with 219 Design, MEMA Engineering, and Bedrock (law firm for startups), crowdfunding mentorship from Spark Plug Labs, tickets to the O’Reilly SolidCon, and a fully-funding product video filmed by the awesome 1013Media.
As a final note, Hardboiled Labs is also looking to expand its team
The two openings are:
- someone who knows DFM, CAD, Solidworks
- someone that can help on manufacturing side as well would be fantastic
- someone comfortable with the android, apple, or phonegap platform in order to create a tablet app, and maybe do some web development as well
- he or she should also be someone that is excited about creating musical visualiztions
If you are interested in joining and becoming a founding member, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org