Pittsburgh-based startup company Toaster Pets recently introduced Toaster Pets Cartoon Studio, a new toon-making toy that allows kids to launch their own YouTube animation channel. The device uses “Computer Vision” technology to track and animate the Toaster pets characters on-screen. Kids are invited to download the Toaster Pets Cartoons app form the Play Store/App Store iOS, Android and Amazon Kindle). Next, they set up the scene by picking their Toaster Pet characters and choose one of the ten virtual environments. Then, they are ready to make their own animated short featuring the two animal characters that come with the package (and they can also add more characters by purchasing several other figures).
Toaster Pets founder and CEO John Feghali began by building intelligent virtual pets. “After interviewing 200 kids we realized that a lot of children wanted to have their own YouTube Channel but couldn’t for a series of reasons,” he says. “The main reason is online safety, parents want their kids to explore YouTube but they are worried about exposing them online and hence the main blocking concern. We wanted to create a YouTube sandbox where kids can explore creating and building a following while protecting their identity. Cartoons offer the perfect opportunity as a sandbox however cartoons are very difficult to create especially when you factor the fact that kids love to create content with other people and not alone. We spent two years figuring out how to allow anyone create cartoons with others with no expertise and time to learn cartoon making.”
Feghali says the product’s ideal target audience are boys and girls, between the ages of 6 and 11. “With the current shutdown and kids staying home, we wanted to extend the opportunity to bond through creating cartoons to all the parents and kids out there,” he adds. “We worked hard to create a DIY studio that kids can create at home. With the Paper Studio kids can start creating stories with family and friends. We have been fortunate to be able to work remotely as a team. From a sales perspective, we have seen a big spike in sales as parents are looking for activities for their kids and for bonding opportunities. We are also seeing kids create their homework through our cartoon studio and share it with their teachers remotely.
The original Studio Pets Studio is priced at $64.99 and additional Toaster Pet series (featuring three characters each) go for $19.99. To learn more, visit www.toasterpets.com.
And here’s a link to the company’s Paper Studio site, where kids can create animation for free: www.toasterpets.com/paper-studio/