- New technologies
Chromville, the app made in Spain that has reached American schools
Imascono is a pioneer in augmented reality in Spain. Established by young entrepreneurs, it revolutionised international education with Chromville Visual Arts, an app with 500,000 users worldwide – 350,000 in USA only.
Chromville Visual Arts is an easy-to-use app for children aged 5 to 12. Players have to colour pages for them to come to life in a mobile tablet. It is a way of encouraging curiosity and creativity, bringing together technology, art and multiple intelligences.
Chromville makes education interactive, thus getting children’s attention. More than 1000 schools in 90 countries are using this app to teach Maths, Geometry or Science. There are as many as 40 colouring pages, showing, for example, a skeleton that moves to teach the names of bones or a tadpole that turns into a frog to explain metamorphoses in the natural world.
‘Chromville helps children find passion in them, as they learn and play at once. With our app, children develop creativity, the most important value in humans, for it ensures the evolution of our species,’ says Pedro Lozano, Augmented Reality COO & Co-founder at Imascono and Chromville.
Next step: a global community
Chromville V.1 was released in 2014. It included five colouring pages. It was first used to motivate students in Creative Writing and Language Learning. ‘Our app was initially conceived as a video game, but we changed our business model and set out to develop an educational tool,’ Mr Lozano remarks.
At Imascono they are working to develop accessories for upgrading their app. They are thinking of creating an augmented reality community where teachers from around the world can exchange teaching methods to make the most of this tool and boost innovation.
Interactive clothing brand
Imascono was established by Pedro Lozano in 2008 as a clothing brand supporting young Spanish designers. In 2010, a website was created to sell t-shirts online. Then Lozano contacted Héctor Paz (CEO and Co-founder at Imascono and Chromville), who had done a final career project in augmented reality. They discussed the idea of using this technology in t-shirts, giving rise to the first interactive clothing brand.
The first product they launched were illustrated t-shirts whose stamps came to life when caught on a mobile camera. Soon enough, this opened the door to Silicon Valley, where Lozano and Paz spent a month showing Chromville to programmers and investors. It was a fruitful experience, and it led to growth.
Having succeeded in USA, the app developed at Imascono has a huge growth potential. ‘Augmented reality is bound to be part of our everyday lives. We talk about this with customers. What we are facing is not a digital but a social transformation in which technology plays a crucial role and augmented reality has a leading place,’ Lozano observes.
Together with Telefónica, chef Ferran Adrià and Disney, Imascono developed an augmented reality app to teach the benefits of healthy food and show the fun of cooking with your family. It is a game based on Adrià’s recipes. As players move on to the next level, they prepare dishes with various Disney characters, which adds fun to the cooking process.
‘We have recently developed an app for a Dutch publisher using the Chromville colouring page system. Similarly, a firm from South Korea asked us to develop a tool going beyond the page and using cubes to make educational puzzles.’
Imascono has also worked for big multinationals like Bosch, for whom they developed an interactive cooking platform using augmented reality and, for the first time in this kind of apps, Kinect, the line of motion sensing devices by Microsoft. The platform delivers amazing culinary experiences, and users can take and print photos of them.
With such a bright future in the horizon, at Imascono they are thinking of spin-offs for a variety of specific sectors. ‘With the boom of this technology, opportunities are opening up in education, architecture or in industrial sectors.’ However, the headquarters will remain in Zaragoza. ‘We have a global vision, but we operate at the local level,’ Lozano explains.