Freemium app Color Band uses the iPad’s front camera as a motion sensor to create a magical experience for children learning about music and color. With a few strokes of their fingers on the iPad’s touchscreen, kids can draw their own instruments. To play them, they just have to wave their hands in the air.
Color Band was created by LND Games, a Taipei-based studio staffed by programmer David Liu, artist and animator Yi-Ning Wang and 18-year gaming industry veteran Louis Lu, who was once lead character artist on the God of War series but now focuses on making non-violent games as an indie developer.
Color Band is similar to apps like SoundBrush (which we recently profiled), but it also includes coloring canvases and pages that combine art practice with basic music theory. For example, children can draw seven shapes on their iPad’s screen–and then tap out the major scale (or “do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti”) on them by gesturing in front of the camera. Sounds can also be recorded–sketch a bunch of flowers, record a voice, tap on individual blooms to make them “sing” and then use auto playback to turn the garden into a miniature choir.
Another nifty feature is the ability to use real-life objects as instruments, as demonstrated by this video.
Programmer Liu conceptualized Color Band after watching his girlfriend, a teacher, show small children how to play simple musical instruments.
“We wanted to create an interactive app that would teach kids about music and art, but also be intuitive and fun to use,” says Liu.
LND Games packed Color Band with features in order to keep children (and adults) engaged. Users can “paint a picture with sounds” using more than 80 interactive colors that each have a unique instrument or sound effect assigned to them, including cymbals, bongos and animal noises. Some colors contain multiple sound effects, while others have scales or chords, allowing kids to learn more about pitch and harmony.
Interactive coloring pages and canvases, more of which are available as in-app purchases, feature drawings of instruments such as pianos and guitars that can be played like their real-life counterparts. After kids finish working on a drawing, they can interact with it using the iPad’s cameras, touchscreen and automatic playback, or invite Color Band’s animated mascot, an pink bunny called Lalabee, to dance along to the rhythms and sounds they created.
LND Games was founded by Liu after he became intrigued by the gaming possibilities of the motion sensors on the iPad’s front camera. The studio’s first title, Slap That Zombie, was released last fall. A fun, simple game that Liu created to test the iPad camera’s ability to detect motion, Slap That Zombie allows players to pummel undead characters (and test their reflexes) without touching their iPad screens.
Liu says the LND Games team will continue to push out new features for Color Band, while their next motion sensor-based app will focus on fitness for people of all ages.