Utrecht based education-technology startup Luqo has won the Golden Guppy award. This prize is awarded by a professional jury to innovative digital media products for children from 0-6. Luqo has won the award by creating a table to game device that allows multiple children to play digital games with physical tokens.
Luqo was founded in 2014 by designer Rogier Kauw-A-Tjoe (center) and Brian Diephuis (left). The focus of the company has been on building a device for innovative educational games: The device consists of a screen that can display educational games and a camera that can register physical tokens placed on the screen. Unlike other game consoles, this set up allows game designers to create games that can be played by multiple children together.
Unique hardware features
The fact that Luqo designs it’s own hardware allows it to make unique games. This was also recognised by the jury in their report: “The hands-on approach (of Luqo) is fun and amazingly chaotic. The jury is excited about the fact that Luqo is about interaction and collaboration. The gaming platform brings children together, instead of isolating players.” Of course, designing a hardware product and bringing it to the market is challenging. Just ask Elon Musk about production hell, or read about previous hardware startups Gotoky, or the financial issues of Watcher Enterprises. Luqo has already built and delivered several devices to schools and is discussing distribution with a large educational publisher.
Two other concepts were favourably mentioned by the Guppy award jury.
Game Chalk Gardens by Niels de Jong and Joanna Siccama was praised for it’s focus on young children and the design talent on display. Chalk Gardens is a fantasy exploration game about coping by changing your mindset: it uses positive reframing of setbacks.
The app Vil Du?! by YipYip was praised for demonstrating how broad the field of digital media products is. This app addresses an important topic, since it allows traumatised children to rediscover intimacy.