Augmented reality platform advances STEM interest, learning for K-12 students, Sneak Peek Kit on sale for holidays

November 20 2018


Purdue-affiliated Explore Interactive, a startup gamifying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through an augmented reality mobile platform, is announcing a new development partner, HitPoint Studios, to help move technologies to the public.

The new product called Sneak Peek Kit!, on sale now for the holidays, is an early version of the overall application that includes a sample of three early circuit games and a set of Explore Interactive! augmented reality cards. The product was tested by Purdue’s INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering and chosen to be included in their annual Engineering Gift Guide for the holiday season. The accompanying free app was launched in the app store in October and will continue to grow and improve in content throughout 2018.

“We want to have all interactions happen on the tabletop as much as possible, so that the kids feel like things are happening in their world, not in their computer,” said Amanda Thompson, Explore Interactive CEO and Purdue University alumna. “For example, one activity has the kids draw a wire to connect batteries and light bulbs within a basic circuit.”

Explore Interactive is partnering with HitPoint Studios, based in Massachusetts, which is known for advancing engagement, brand building and technical service through its software development expertise.

“Augmented reality is such a new space, and the challenges we are tackling are really innovative and difficult,” Thompson said. “We are focusing on this new interactive element where we have the physical pieces play, join and build with each other. We want a version with smoother mechanics that kids, teachers and parents can just pick up and go.”

HitPoint CEO Ariella Lehrer said her company is excited about working with Explore Interactive.

“Their product employs one of the most innovative uses of educational augmented reality that we’ve seen,” Lehrer said. “The ability to simulate the design of electrical circuits then iterate, test and build with limitless digital assets is impossible to re-create with traditional electric circuit kits.”

Explore Interactive also has been named a finalist in the Reimagine Education Award’s category for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. As a finalist, the startup is invited to the 2018 Reimagine Education Conference in order to showcase its business pitch.

To date, Explore Interactive has raised $150,000 in venture and competition funding. The startup also receives support and guidance from the Purdue Foundry, a commercialization accelerator in Purdue University’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

The startup aligns with Purdue’s “Giant Leaps” celebrating the university’s global advancements made in health, space, artificial intelligence and sustainability highlights as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. Those are the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

The technology is licensed through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.

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