Milo is an interactive way for young children to stay in touch with absent loved ones.
There are 24 tokens that can be hidden around the family home or in the child’s bedroom. These tokens can represent 24 weeks, 24 days or whatever you choose - they act as a countdown for when the child’s absent loved one will return or visit. A clue will appear on screen at a designated time that gives the child an indication of where the token might be. The child can then go on a treasure hunt in order to find the missing token. Once found they return to Milo’s base station and slot the token in. This then triggers a video message from the absent loved one to be played. Once finished the child can use Milo to record and send their own video message back. The adult then views this message (and all messages received) on the Milo website.
Milo centres around a child's need for play, routine and family contact.
Milo began as my University final year project, born out of a desire to help military families experiencing extended periods of separation due to deployment. For these families things like Skype or Facetime cannot always be used because of security risks and limited bandwidth or access to the internet.
The problem of family separation does not just resonate with military families but is becoming more and more common with business trips, immigration or personal troubles causing loved ones to spend more time apart. Currently not many products on the market try to address this problem and particularly not for young children who need the support of both parents from a young age to grow and develop into happy, confident and competent young adults.
I really wanted to create a product that was a fun and enjoyable experience for the whole family - whatever their age and wherever they are located. But specifically I wanted a product a young child could physically hang on to and feel was their own special connection to an absent parent or loved one.
Milo received a lot of positive attention at my University degree show and has since exhibited at New Designers 2015, in London, and the Gadget Show Live 2016, in Birmingham where I am proud to have been selected as ‘Highly Commended’. The response has been fantastic and I just hope that with hard work and a little help Milo will one day sit on shelves in homes all across the country and not just my own.
To help get Milo to market I need a little extra help - business and professional support to help develop the software and website and also to create a product that can be manufactured efficiently.
First I plan to create a fully functioning prototype that can be thoroughly tested with potential users to ensure the product is easy to use and has all the functionality desired. Previous testing has been conducted in halves - a mock up of the interface could be used online and the physical prototype could test size, comfort to hold, aesthetics etc.
I also intend to alter the design of the base unit and the tokens. The tokens are being developed into little characters that can be played with individually. Additionally I hope to develop a Milo storybook which brings each token character to life creating a richer story for the children.
Take a look at the website: www.milotoy.co.uk
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