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How Osmo decides to make its tangible, high-tech toys



A huge number of toys today include high-tech and interactive components that keep kids in front of screens. But when it comes to health and educational development, multiple studies have found that kids benefit from things like building with blocks, playing with both hands, and looking away from screens for 20 seconds at least every 20 minutes.

A startup called Osmo, which launched at TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield in 2013, has dedicated itself to designing toys that bridge the digital and physical. “Kids won’t stop being obsessed with smartphones and tablets,” says CEO and cofounder Pramod Sharma. Instead, his  company finds ways to keep them engaged with their physical environment, while they keep a screen nearby.

TechCrunch went behind the scenes at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters to see how Osmo decides to build a new toy or game. One innovation engine at Osmo is the company’s semi-annual Dream Week Hackathon, a five-day brainstorming, design and development exercise for employees only.