An alien robot named Lyka has landed on Indiegogo with a campaign to educate the children of earth about technology, science, engineering, and the environment.
The project is the first effort from New York-based multimedia education technology and toy development company Connected Sparks.
Based on the travels of an itinerant robot named Lyka who comes to Earth after her own planet is ravaged by climatological events, the project has already received some initial financing from the Tribeca Film Institute through its TFI New Media Fund and presented its prototype offering part of the TFI Interactive program during the Tribeca Film Festival.
The earliest seeds of the company began in 2011 at the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon in New York. There Lance Weiler, an already accomplished multimedia content creator, presented the first iteration of what would eventually become Lyka’s Journey.
From that presentation Weiler refined his vision for a children’s educational and entertainment company to launch Connected Sparks. The company has a deal for a series of books with Penguin Random House, while selling a plush toy version of its protagonist, Lyka, and a mobile app that accompanies the book and fits snugly in the toy to “activate” the robot.
Ultimately, Connected Sparks wants to launch an entire line of sensor-based toys as part of Weiler’s vision of creating a quantified home predicated on family, learning, and play. “The exciting thing is the intersection of the physical and the digital,” says Weiler.
Financing from the Indiegogo campaign will support the company’s development of the book series the expansion of its educational and media offerings.
Connected Sparks hopes to release the first book and plush toys in Australia in May, with the second book following in September — to test the market, according to Weiler.
If the books are successful, North American release dates would follow for the book series in November 2014.