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Drops turns simple toy critters into augmented reality pets

Premise. If videos of babies on tablets teach us anything, it’s that mass adoption of electronics knows no age limits. While digital pets have grown more sophisticated since Tamagotchi days, it’s not easy keeping up with today’s twelve-year-old.

Product. Drops are real-life stuffed animal characters, each with a different name and very unique fun facts to accompany it. Using an app and augmented reality technology, Drops become digital pets that kids can interact with from an app on their smartphones or tablets. Regular sized Drops are plush and can fit in the palm of your hand, so they’re “easy to sneak into class” – a very attractive trait for the average middle-schooler.

Pitch. A witty and charming pitch video features inventor Lenay Dunn explaining that she was inspired to create Drops as a child when she’d imagine her stuffed animals were really alive. She envisions Drops becoming this generation’s digital pet, joining the ranks of Tamagotchi, Furby and Gigapet. So far there are seven drop characters, many additionally available in “super size” – about the size of a basketball. Among the more creatively named Drops is Meowseph, who has whiskers and also, parents that compromised on combining “Meow” and “Joseph” when naming him. The campaign is looking to raise $80,000 in a flexible funding over 30 days which will go toward creating an initial concept for Drops. Specifically, the augmented reality pieces including design and animation will be worked on, and once Drops has a solid proof of concept they will go to investors to raise the remainder of the money needed to “drop” Drops in the market.

Perks. For $9 plus $2 shipping within US, you can back Drops and receive your choice of Firework, Vampy, Dropula, PB & Drop, or Mewoseph. For $12, you can choose to be surprised or you can reserve Corny. For a $15 pledge, you may reserve a Diamond Drop. Drop perks continue on up to a $10,000 donation which allows your voice to be used as one of Drops’ final “noises”, plus you will help name and design. If $10,000 is too steep, consider donating $2,500 for the “DROPelganger” package – get Drops for you and two friends with your name, likeness, personality and voice – best-named perk ever.

Potential. While the pitch video references Furby as a toy of the past, the 2013 holiday season proved that this little guy has upped his game. Today’s Furby Boom toys come in all patterns and colors and work with an app where kids collect, hatch and raise their Furblings. Unlike Drops, there is an electronic element in that Furby requires batteries and has a certain amount of responses it can provide. Still, depending on start-up costs, Drops has the potential to be much cheaper than Furby and can provide a very similar experience. Drops’ inability to speak back or make noises may not even be seen as a disadvantage to kids, as you can argue they are mostly going to be engaged in the activities possible within the app.

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