Now on Kickstarter, Mozbii is a wonderful stylus that lets kids turn the world into their crayon box. It has already surpassed its $30,000 funding goal, with the campaign ending on Sept. 27.
To be sure, there are other color-picking styluses out there, but Mozbii has several features that makes it suitable for children as young as two. The stylus is shaped like a lollipop with a flexible neck. Its RGB color sensor is embedded on one side of the head, with a tiny color-picking button next to it. To use it, kids just need to press Mozbii’s head against an object, and that puts enough pressure on the button to activate it, which means that even toddlers, who have limited motor control, can use the stylus.
An LED light on the other side of the “lollipop” head lights up when the stylus successfully picks up a color. Once they pick a color with their Mozbii, it is saved automatically in Mozbii’s app, and they can use it to doodle or fill in coloring pages. Mozbii’s magnetic charging head is also easy for children to use.
Both the Mozbii stylus and app were created by Taiwanese startup Ufro, which was founded by Jeremy Shu.
Shu, a former operations director at Apple, was inspired to create learning products for kids by his own children. When his son and daughter switched from a bilingual Mandarin-English school to a school that taught exclusively in English, they had a hard time adjusting and their grades began to slip. Instead of pressuring them to study harder, Shu encouraged his children to take up hobbies, including sports, music, and art. He realized that having a creative outlet helped his kids relax and, in turn, their report cards began to improve.
Mozbii is supposed to help nurture children’s creativity while motivating them to interact with the world around them, Shu says. I got to try out Mozbii in Ufro’s office and was impressed with its ease of use and accuracy. It works best when used with vivid colors, like the purple of an orchid flower. More subtle colors, like skin, are harder to duplicate exactly, but Mozbii still captures variations in the tones. In the app, kids can save palettes of up to twelve colors each for use in future drawings.
One of the main things that I like about Mozbii is that it encourages children, who spend an increasing amount of time on tablets, to explore their environment and the objects around them. For example, the sensitivity of Mozbii’s RGB color sensor lets them capture several different shades of pink and yellow from the skin of a peach, or they can make a palette by gathering up their favorite toys and using it with the stylus.
In addition to the coloring app, Ufro plans to develop other educational apps that work with Mozbii, including apps for reading, numbers, and music.
Mozbii already has a finalized prototype, so Shu is confident that the campaign will be able to deliver to the first 100 super early bird backers by next month, while other backers will receive their styluses in November. Pledges that include a Mozbii start at $64. For more information, see its Kickstarter page.