Kids love to draw, but it takes a while for them to develop the skill required to do it well enough that what they've created is easily identifiable. While tracing paper has traditionally been a good way for them to recognizably copy images as they learn, it's not very 2017 is it? FollowGrams is a kid-focused smart projector which teaches kids how to draw by projecting step-by-step instructions onto their paper for them to draw over.
Currently on Kickstarter, the FollowGrams projector is a desktop device which has clearly been designed for its target audience of budding artists aged from five years-old. Its chunky plastic looks suggest it should be sturdy, and parents will also be pleased to know that when not in use the projector will only take up half as much space as it can be split into two parts, with one being stowed within the other. In terms of desk space requirements, it measures 27 x 19 x 33 cm (10.8 x 7.5 x 13 inch) when assembled.
There are two main ways the FollowGrams projector can be used, the first is in conjunction with an iOS or Android app which allows users to send images via Bluetooth to be projected and traced. Once an image has been selected on the smart device, a filter is chosen to transform it into a more line-based traceable image and sent to the projector. It then shines onto a sheet of paper, allowing your little Picasso to copy it using their normal real world artistic tools.
The second mode, however, is potentially more interesting and gives step-by-step instructions showing how to draw a number of different images. Here users follow lines as they are sequentially projected onto the paper, until a full image has been created. This could make the process less daunting for younger users, and helps to teach key drawing skills.
These images will come on micro-SD content cards which slot into the projector and each contain 50 or more drawings on a certain topic, such as Jungle, Dinosaurs, Space Adventures or Princesses. There will also be content cards which teach kids how to write numbers and letters. While different Kickstarter pledges come with different content cards, they will also be available separately, though it's perhaps a little early to cost such additions.
When the FollowGrams projector is set up, silicon pads will hold the drawing paper in place, and an adjustable focus wheel means the projection can be tweaked for sharpness (though there's no mention of brightness). Big control buttons make operation child's play, though shadows cast on the drawing zone by budding artist may be an issue. The projector can also use either an AC power adapter, or four D-sized batteries, which will give around eight hours of use.
It will currently take a super early bird pledge of US$65 to put your name down for a FollowGrams projector with three content cards. Once those go the pledge level will rise to $75 with two content cards, and then to $99 with one content card. If funding, and everything else, is successful, the FollowGrams projectors are expected to start shipping in July.
You can check out the Kickstarter promo video for FollowGrams below.