Inside Indiana Business
WEST LAFAYETTE – A Purdue University-affiliated startup is gaining national attention this holiday season for its STEM-focused game for children, giving the small company exposure as parents shop for educational Christmas gifts.
Explore Interactive has made TechCrunch’s top holiday toy list for its MindLabs product. TechCrunch is an online publication focusing on high tech.
The MindLabs: Energy and Circuits pack allows children to use augmented reality via mobile devices to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics while having hands-on fun.
In an interview with Inside Indiana Business, Explore Interactive Chief Executive Officer Amanda Thompson said the exposure to the TechCrunch readers is invaluable.
“We’re just a little company and breaking through the noise is pretty hard in our segment. We’re pretty excited that for this holiday season, we can claim this,” said Thompson.
MindLabs allows a child to point a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, at a series of cards. Users learn how to make an electric circuit by virtually connecting wires and batteries without an actual risk to children. It requires a digital app, physical cards, and augmented reality to learn core science concepts.
“We’re a product that a lot of people don’t quite understand right out of the gate because it’s, ‘Oh, augmented reality and what’s going on?’ So, we have that issue of customer education. And so, the tech crowd is a good one for us to help to address in this first Christmas season,” explained Thompson.
The company also learned last week it had earned a spot in the National Parenting Products Award Jingle Holiday Gift Guide 2020.
NAPPA was founded by L.A. Parent magazine in 1990. It was designed to help parents make the best, most age-appropriate choices in children’s books, toys, games, and software for their children. MindLabs received a “best in its class” designation.
Thompson said the two accolades come from different ends of the education spectrum