October 14, 2015
When Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen initially founded Roominate in San Francisco, they implemented a driving mission to ignite young girls’ interest in STEM fields via their technological toy sets. To that end they designed and developed a fully customizable line of building systems that thrives on circuits, modular pieces, and universal joints.
Any young girl who plays with Roominate can create her own unique and original structures or vehicles: everything operates on open ended play, kind of like an open source software platform. All of this combined has helped Chen and Brooks realize that Roominate is incredibly important to these young girls and will help increase the pipeline of female talent into STEM fields.
“We’re paving the way, bringing STEM to girls at a young age. We want to get them exposed early on so they can understand they can be anything they want when they grow up,” says Chen in a previous article we wrote about Roominate.
It was only a matter of time before they expanded to offer even more options that will inspire the next generation to have fun with STEM subjects, develop spatial and fine motor skills, and engage in hands on problem solving. To that end, Roominate will officially be adding more building pieces, new vehicle options, and a host of new accessories.
Roominate rPower is a physical controller that brings creations to life using the Roominate app for iOS or Android: it’s what powers all of the new products Roominate has launched. The small power hub can connect with up to eight circuits simultaneously so girls can control multiple lights, motors, buzzers, and sensors on their Roominate creations. The rPower is compatible with all Roominate kits and can be incorporated into any Roominate design to, for example, change how fast or slow a merry-go-round spins, move an elevator up or down, drive a car, or turn lights on and off in a house.
Roominate Amusement Park
This will take girls’ imaginations on the ultimate ride as they build their own amusement park. It includes attractions like a giant Ferris wheel that spins, a pirate ship that swings, and concession stands.
Roominate School House
Using the included building pieces that easily snap together, girls can tap into their imaginations to design their perfect classroom, including a math class, library, art room, and cafeteria. Electrical circuits were included to help enhance the fun with moving fans and lights.
Roominate Town House
Bring architectural dreams to life with Roominate Townhouse: using the included circuits and modular pieces, girls can construct a customized townhouse for their Roominate dolls by creating a working doorbell, spinning fan, elevator, or whatever else their imaginations can dream up.
The Roominate RV and school bus make it easy for girls to take their Roominate dolls on an adventure or road trip. Perhaps the RV needs a sunroof or deserves to be turned into a trendy food truck? Maybe the school bus needs to drive from the townhouse to the school house? Regardless, it’s all about the motor circuits powered by the rPower – it’s always fun to have a vehicle that can move by itself.
Why is this launch important?
Even though I’m not a child, and I’m not a girl, I’m absolutely blown away by Roominate and their level of innovation here. When I was at Denver Startup Week I went to a session that talked all about how entrepreneurs can build fun into their platforms and how important that is to user acquisition and adoption.
Session leader Chris Oltyan made a poignant remark though: gamification of one topic – in Roominate’s case education – isn’t in and of itself a guarantee that something will be fun. Rather, it’s a tool that should be used to help make something fun. You have to pair that with the common language of emotion that every human on this earth shares.
Consider the perfect storm that Roominate then offers young girls. Brooks and Chen have effectively used gamification to help drive young girls’ interests in STEM fields, which can sometimes be boring and dry. That is, they’ve gamified STEM education by pairing it with physical, hands on toys that ignite parts of the brain software platforms can’t touch.
In my opinion Roominate is one of those rare companies that fuses education and fun together near perfectly. This is especially important when trying to capture and engage the ever short attention span of a child, and it’s what’s helped Chen and Brooks launch Roominate kits at retailer nationwide. In fact, my only complaint with Roominate is that there wasn’t anything like this around when I was a kid.
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!