Meet Kodama: the inspiring new company that has today been shortlisted for an esteemed James Dyson Award.
Most kids enjoy making up stories with their favourite teddies or toys, but that doesn’t stop parents from worrying about how much screen-time their child has on their tablet.
Now, one new company has created an inspiring middle ground where kids use real-life puppets to animate their own virtual worlds.
This innovative new play set not only lets youngsters push the boundaries of their imaginations, but also helps them question the world around them through storytelling based on the goals of the United Nations.
“Kodama is a platform to create 3D animations in a playful way by moving toys with your hands,” he told The Memo.
Puppets are moved around on a physical mat which is plugged into an iPad, while a small cube is used as a ‘camera’ maps the movement of the toys.
Using the Kodama app, children can then interact with and explore different story worlds.
“It’s tangible, and kids can also play with their parents rather than being alone in their own world.”
It’s not just a fun and innovative game, Kodama is about helping children themselves tell stories that matter.
“Kodama is designed to basically to teach them that the world doesn’t have to be the way it is,” says Leclercq.
“That they can challenge ideas and think independently.”
What’s more, each narrative framework is based on one of the 17 UN goals. For example, one of the stories is about conserving underwater life, allowing to animate character within a coral reef.
Another story world explores the UN proposal of education for everyone: this features two villages – one that has a school, and one that doesn’t.
Here children will decide the fate of their digital cast, with the help of a bird that can fly between the settlements.
Once they have created their videos, they can share them online for everyone to benefit from.
All in all, each story provides hundreds of limitless outcomes that can be explored through imaginative play.
Kodama is already working with a school in the South of England, and hopes to make sets available to parents and teachers for under £100 by the end of 2017.
Looking further ahead, the company also hope to create a ‘Pro’ version for professional film makers, and the company is already in talks with well-known vfx studios.
“The goal is to match the imagination – so there are no boundaries to what we can create,” says Leclercq.
We can’t wait for the future of storytelling to arrive.