Timio® is an educational toy with a completely new look. It is the first screen-free digital device on which children of all ages can listen to music and audio. They learn to recognize and use colors, letters, and numbers in a playful way. They can also dance and sing along with different songs, listen to stories, and learn about animals, shapes, vegetables, traffic, and much more.
A working prototype
When Basile Fattal, the creator of Timio®, contacted us, there was a great need for a working prototype to set up a Kickstarter campaign. Another company had already started but had not mastered the development of electronics enough to complete it.
Basile came to us via his network. “I was looking for someone who could bring the prototype closer to a manufacturable model. Somebody tipped me about Casper and together we took the next step”, Basile explains.
The goal was clear. From the development of a Proof of Concept further to a version that resembles the final product as closely as possible. A version that works and can be used during the Kickstarter campaign that was already planned. A project with not only a clear goal, but also a hard deadline.
Not straight to China
Basile tells he deliberately did not turn straight to the factory in China but chose to work with a smaller party in the Netherlands. “It was good to keep the development of the prototype in the Netherlands. The lines remained short, we had no communication problems and were able to quickly consult and switch when necessary.”
Casper has had a clear share in not only developing the electronics of Timio® but also in the functionality of the toy. Because he can put himself well in the end user of the product and thinks very practical, we came up with remarkable solutions.”
Timio® uses different discs that the children can place on the device, to play the corresponding audio. The device is fully controlled by touch. Basile and Casper concluded that children should not be bothered by how the disk should be placed on the device. It should be able to work in any way possible.
“Using a round disc was not an option, because it does not remain in its place. A square disk was downright ugly, so we opted for a rounded version, a so-called “squircle”. A squircle can be placed on Timio® in four ways, so the toy itself needs to know how the disc is placed. Casper found a way for the toy to read how the disc is inserted and which audio should be played.”
“The device not being connected to the internet made developing the software especially challenging. An audio player or screen that connects you to the internet is a terminal and does not need to store content itself. It should only be able to load and play it.
However, Timio® itself is a content holder so both the hardware, software, and content must be delivered. In developing this, quite different things had to be considered than with a connected device.”
To be fair, the version of Timio® we delivered to Basile was not good enough to go directly into production. At the time we were not able to develop the complete software for Timio®. It remained with a version that could be used for the Kickstarter campaign but was not yet ready for production.
“Despite Casper not being able to deliver the software, I am pleased with our collaboration. Casper listens to what you would like most, translates that into possibilities and then develops it further. Now I know he has other software developers on his team, I will certainly think of him if I want to develop something completely new or if someone else is looking for a good electronics developer.”