Oulu, Finland-based Ball-IT‘s product, blobo, is a golfball sized soft ball that can sense movement, rotation, magnetic fields, and even pressure. You can compare it to a Wii controller or Playstation Move, yet because of its size it offers unique opportunities available for gameplay– such as throwing the ball up in the air or placing it in a players pocket to sense macro physical movements like jumping or running.
The device has seen the creation of a children’s TV show in Finland, but Blobo is now being taken to China, where the Shanghai Media Group’s children’s channel, Toonmax, is turning it the game system into an interactive TV show. On the show kids take each other on in front of a live studio audience, who watch their avatars compete on a large screen. Meanwhile the viewers at home can play blobo at the same time using their computer and compare their results with the TV contestants.
The sales box for Chinese consumers consists of a blobo device, a Bluetooth adapter (needed for computers without built-in Bluetooth), and 8 Fun&Fit games. At first blobo will be sold in China through 1,500 retail shops, including SMG’s own digital and electronics supermarkets, later aiming for nationwide broadcast and marketing. Toonmax will broadcast 26 episodes in China in the second half of 2012, reaching 30 million households with the ultimate target to reach 200 million.
In a press release, Juha Rytky, CEO of Ball-IT, says that they could not wish for a better partner in China. “The overall business potential is huge, as there are already more than 150 million PC online gamers today in China. The market already exists and is booming, we are now offering added value for the gamers by offering them the motion controlled gaming experience.” We last interviewed Rytky about their technology in 2008 at the Slush conference in Helsinki.
Ball-It OY has been producing the algorithms and sensor technology behind blobo since 2005. The company has been invested in by Aura Capital and Fortel Management.
Here’s a screenshot of the Finnish TV show.