Play Beyond the Screen

Osmo’s groundbreaking system fosters social intelligence and creative thinking by opening up the iPad to the endless possibilities of physical play.

Osmo has a magical ability to turn physical objects and interactions into digital game elements. The technology that makes this possible is called Reflective Artificial Intelligence (AI), a phrase we created to describe the process that allows the iPad to make sense of what it sees. There are two main components of Reflective AI: the red Osmo reflector (a mirror), and the computer vision algorithms that process the data. Working together, the reflector and our computer vision software give the iPad the ability to integrate physical objects into our games in real time.


How it works:

1. The reflector redirects the iPad’s front facing camera towards the playing surface, which allows the iPad to see the entire surface in front of the Osmo stand.

2. We obtain a digital image of the playing surface. Before we start processing the image, it’s just an array of numbers that has no meaning in its raw form!

3. The computer vision transforms the raw image into a collection of recognized objects. This is by far the hardest part of the process – getting the vision process to work quickly, accurately and in a variety of environments has been quite a challenge.

4. The game engine integrates the objects recognized by computer vision into the game. This is how physical objects you put in front of the screen become digitally connected game pieces in real time!


Perfecting the Reflective AI technology has been one of the greatest challenges in creating Osmo. Not only does the computer vision have to work accurately, but it needs to work almost instantaneously. We have worked tirelessly to improve our vision software for all iPads, from second generation to iPad Air, so that everyone who owns an iPad with a front facing camera can enjoy their Osmo experience!

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