Apps dominate the pitches here at the Techonomy conference today, which makes one startup’s brightly coloured gadget stand out all the more.
The Jumboard is a USB keyboard sporting just four large buttons, designed to make computers easily accessible to very young children. Accompanied by a Web app that provides educational games designed specifically for use with the keyboard, it’s designed to transform your computer into a pre-schooler’s favourite hi-tech toy.
Aimed at ages 1 to 4, the Jumboard has been developed by a husband and wife team from Israel. Danny and Racheli Van Buren started the company after Racheli saw how keen the couple’s own young children were to use her computer. At home, the keyboard connects via USB. On the go, the plastic casing can be removed for easier use. In that case, it sits atop your laptop, with the four buttons pushing down on the keys below.
The company plans to partner with brands such as toy manufacturers or TV production companies. The idea is that special Jumboards, in brand-specific colours and designs, will be produced along with special Web content for each brand. The result would be a Jumboard ‘app store’, allowing parents to add extra content for their children to interact with.
The prototype device is almost ready for mass production, with a worldwide patent pending. The Van Burens say that while other childrens’ keyboards exist, the idea of one designed to work in conjunction with a dedicated Web app is unique. The company is looking for brands around the world to partners with on the project.