A new iPad app may very well birth the next generation of Picassos and Jackson Pollocks and, at the same time, illustrate how technology can be a powerful educational tool when it comes to creating art and igniting the imagination in both young and old minds.
That's part of the philosophy behind the Osmo Masterpiece Drawing App. Perhaps the quickest way to explain how the free software for Osmo, an iPad-based game that sells for $80, is to watch it in action:
Called Masterpiece, the free app is an extension of Osmo, a software game for the Apple iPad that offers three aspects of play using reflective artificial intelligence technology. Osmo comes with a mirror, called the Osmo reflector, and the software consists of computer vision algorithms that process data. The two elements allow an iPad to integrate actual objects in real time.
As Pramod Sharma, Osmo CEO explained, Masterpiece is an "endless coloring book."
Osmo includes three edutainment apps: Words, a spelling game; Tangram, a shape game; and Newton, a drawing game that brings in some physics elements.
The fourth and newest Osmo app, Masterpiece, is focused on tapping creative expression and unleashing the artist within children and adults.
According to Osmo, Masterpiece doesn't require any level of artistic skills beyond a desire to create.
Basically an Osmo user takes a photo with the iPad, or grabs an image off the Web, and the app strips the image down to lines and shades. The Osmo mirror attached to the iPad camera then creates that image on the screen. The user can also incorporate other images into the drawing on the screen.
Using a pen, pencil, crayon, marker or paint brush, the user can trace the lines and shapes on a piece of paper or any material put in front of the iPad and recreate the image, or use the linear image as a launching canvas for a totally original artistic creation.
Once the "masterpiece" is completed, the app saves the image, which can be shared digitally and in print. Masterpiece offers a digital clip of the image created in the process. It can be shared as a digital file.
The app's creators say Masterpiece is more than just a portrait-drawing tool as it taps a user's fine motor skills and helps a user learn about proportions in artistic expression. The benefit doesn't end there.
"It helps you build confidence," Sharma said.
"Most of the tech right now is designed for adults," Sharma added. "And then we throw that at kids ... The way to learn is to interact with things, pen and paper, Legos, all kinds of toys."