Inventors blend Tamagotchi with vegetables in Kickstarter toy project

Titled Grüt, the plant sensor kit feeds bio information back to a friendly avatar that encourages kids to take care of its real life counterpart.
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What do you get if you cross a Tamagotchi with a carrot?

A trio of Dutch design students believe they may have just discovered the answer as they launch Grüt – a gardening sensor kit for kids – on Kickstarter.

The team of young inventors is looking to raise €10,000 via the crowdfunding site in order to launch what it believes is the ‘next step forward in the connected toy market.’

Grüt is a carrot-themed kit that features a plant sensor that feeds biological data from a growing plant to an accompanying app. Through the app, a virtual avatar of the plant will then tell kids how best to take care of it.

“We know what you are thinking, it’s just like a real life Tamagotchi,” said Rob Boerman, creative developer at Grüt.

“We decided to create something educational that could teach children the value of food by showing them what’s behind growing it.

“It is proven how children like to take care of pets, so we thought it would be interesting to create a virtual pet strictly connected to the real plant, to demonstrate how a plant is feeling and what its needs are.”

Kids are encouraged to take care of the plant as it indicates whether it needs more sunlight or water via the character on the screen of a smart phone.

“The uniqueness of this experience is the constant connection between the real experience and the virtual experience, because the avatar is influenced by how the living plant is doing,” continued Boerman.

“It’s not like a videogame or a digital pet where everything is virtual and programmed, it’s not a computer that gives inputs to the avatar, but something alive.

“If something goes wrong, there’s no reset button and that teaches children to really take responsibility for their plant and take good care of it if they don’t want to ‘lose.”

Boerman explains that should the Kickstarter project prove successful, the team intends to target the Grüt sensor kit at the toy market as an educational science kit.

The team has already secured over €1,500 of its €10,000 target with 25 days remaining on the crowdfunding site.

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