Storyball - The Screen-Free Smart Console that keeps kids active

Created by Storyball

Storyball is a screen-free smart console that uses games, stories and challenges to get children playing, learning and moving their bodies.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

October update - Storyball
almost 2 years ago – Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 03:05:10 AM

Dear Storyball backers,

PRODUCTION

Firstly thank you again for your understanding and patience. Our journey to get to production has taken a lot longer than we had planned and has come with many challenges, however, I’m proud to say that we recently traveled to China to supervise the production process or our first 2,000 Storyball consoles and they will be delivered to you in time for Christmas. The Storyballs consoles look great and with our recent changes, they now produce a high-quality sound. Not only will they give your children hours of fun at playtime but they can also be used as their very own durable Bluetooth speaker.

Parts before assembly
Assembly and packaging

SKINS

Unfortunately, we have not managed to finalize all the Storyball skins and content in time for Christmas, but we have completed content and manufactured the skins for both Agent Ayo and Sesame the Unicorn. Therefore, as we do not want you to wait any longer for your Storyballs we are going to ship you Ayo and/or Sesame now (closest match according to your order) and will send you the skin that you ordered as soon as it’s available. In addition, as an apology for the delays and added value for you all, we are going to unlock additional smart audio content and provide you with 12 months of access free of charge. What’s more, we will continue to add to this content library so that you can enjoy additional content as it’s created at no cost.

WHAT IS SMART AUDIO?

A multi-layered audio experience in which you can navigate using your Storyball. For example, with the story of Goldilocks, you will be able to choose to hear the perspective not only of the narrator but also of Goldilocks and the bears themselves.

Another example is adding in sound effects to a story when you interact with the Storyball. There are many other benefits of Smart Audio which will become clearer the more you play with your Storyball.

WHY ARE WE LATE WITH THE SKINS AND CONTENT?

We know this must be a frustration for you and apologise for sending your full order separately. You may remember in a previous update we made the decision to change skin materials from a lower quality PVC to silicon, a much higher quality, and more tactile material. We have had to change the supplier to do this which has caused further delays and has increased the cost of production dramatically (however we are happy with the result).

Even harder than creating the skin, is creating the content. Building the games, recording and producing the voices and sounds, programing the games onto the ball and of course, testing and debugging. With regards to licensed character content, the process is a lot more complicated than with our own IP as everything needs to be approved and signed off which slows down the process further. Each of the skins holds about 5,000 sound files and above 20,000 spoken words all in order to create a truly interactive experience.

When will the other skins be ready? We cannot commit to a specific date but can confirm we are advancing rapidly and forecast to ship them until mid-2020.

What will you receive in time for Christmas?

  • The Storyball console
  • One or two skins according to your order: Ayo and/or Sesame.
  • Ayo and/or Sesame’s quests and mini-games
  • 12 months free additional Smart Audio content
     

What will you receive later?

  1. Additional skins as they are produced - according to your order
  2. The quests / mini-games that come with your skins
  3. Further Smart Audio content and mini-games as we develop them - Updated straight to your app.

DELIVERY ADDRESS:

Next week you will receive an email through “Backerkit” to confirm your delivery address, please respond as soon as you get the email as we need to verify your address in order for you to receive your Storyball in time.

FINAL WORD:

Finally from all of us here at Storyball, we want to again say thank you for your patience. We can hand on heart say that within the confines of our budget as a startup we could not have delivered your Storyballs to you any faster but are so excited to at last be doing so and can’t wait for you to receive them.

With our best regards.

Chen and the Storyball team

September update
about 2 years ago – Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 03:31:59 AM

Dear Storyball backers.

This is it! We are excited and thrilled to tell you that we are ready for production of Storyball.

All materials have already arrived in the manufacturing site or on their way. Plastic parts have been injected and approved. Electronic circuit is tested and approved. Our lab tests confirmed that our product is safe and in the best quality. And the games we have designed for your children have proven to be fun and exciting.

Our CTO is planned to visit the factory at the end of this month to make sure the master sample is duplicated and assembled as per our instructions and standards.

Storyball sub-assemblies
Packaging boxes
Skin mold

So what can you expect and when?

In the next weeks you will be asked to reconfirm your address - all surveys will be resent to make sure we have your full and updated address details.

Later, estimated to take place at the beginning/middle of October, you will get a notification of when your Storyball is planned to leave China.

We will send Storyballs to our fulfillment center in HK once the final quality tests are done. The fulfillment center will pack Storyballs according to our lists, will prepare the documents and arrange the shipments to all of our backers. From the moment the products leave HK, they should be in your kids’ hands in 1-2 weeks time.

Beta user testing is rolling out now and the participants will get their product within the next 10 days. We want to thank those of you who volunteered to be part of it. We don’t take it for granted!

Dear backers, you all have been very supportive and patient and we thank you for that. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback and count on your help to make Storyball the best children’s product ever.

Thanks

Chen & The Storyball team

Sound issue resolved - Production update
about 2 years ago – Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 10:53:54 PM

Dear Storyball backers,

We are on track to deliver Storyball to you and your family this Christmas. 

We are happy to say that we have made huge improvements to the sound quality coming out from Storyball's speaker and we are now very pleased with the results. The sound experience is dramatically enhanced, and you will enjoy listening to your favourite songs along with games and stories.

These recent changes required a revision to the electronic design & components inside Storyball. We’ve replaced the amplifier and speaker modules with better and stronger ones. On top of that, we added an acoustic sound box around the speaker to get a clear and powerful sound.

Optional Speakers examined.
Optional Speakers examined.
Designing different speaker sound boxes.
Designing different speaker sound boxes.

Beta testing

your response and willingness to participate in the beta testing group is amazing and exciting for us! Thank you for writing back.  This group of testers will be helping us with improving the product, content and games before we ship out. We appreciate your will to spend the time and energy in helping us realize Storyball, and we look forward to receiving the testers feedback. Unfortunately, will not be able to include all backers who approached us in the group. We will send an e-mail with all the necessary information to those selected to participate. 

Production is planned to take place in September and we will send a survey to each one of you beforehand  - to confirm your address and the skins you selected. 


Your kids will get Storyball for Christmas 2019.  

Thanks for being a part of this journey,

Chen and the Storyball team

Manufacturing update
over 2 years ago – Thu, May 30, 2019 at 10:31:24 PM


Dear Storyball backers,

We want to share with you a crucial point we are facing regarding manufacturing and delivering  your Storyballs.   

During the last month and in preparation for June production, we made 50 full product samples and used them for final user testings. We sent the balls to different testing groups, first time users that have not held a Storyball before. From all users one main issue came up - The sound. 

Users reported that the sound is not strong enough and they had hard time hearing the game when playing in a loud environment or outdoors, which of course damaged their playing experience. 

Other than that, the games tested worked beautifully and created exactly what we anticipated, screen free play, activity and the enthusiasm to play again with the “ball”. 

Sesame Splendid
Sesame Splendid

It is important to say that this feedback didn’t surprise us. We were already in the middle of improving the design towards retail sales, but it did make us think this over - “is this product “good enough” to send?” Should we send our most important clients a beta version? We think the answer is very clear, No!

And so we have decided that although the production line is ready, the molds are set and we really want to send you your Storyballs, we will wait a little longer to try to resolve the sound issue. 

To improve the sound we are starting with switching the amplifier on the board to an amplifier with double capacity. In addition we are creating a sound box around the speaker that will drive the sound forward to prevent it from spreading and leaking out. The idea behind all these changes is to make Storyball a great Bluetooth speaker, in addition to of being a great toy.

So I’m sure you are asking when will you get your Storyballs? As we want you to get the product you deserve we will deliver your Storyballs in time for Christmas 2019. 

We know this is a great disappointment for you as you have been waiting for the product for such a long time. It is a big disappointment and frustration for us as well but we believe it is better to delay a bit longer and get the product done the right way. 

To say thank you for your patience we will ensure that all Kickstarters receive some free additional content for their Storyballs. This will include additional levels and / or extra mini games.

In addition we invite you to join our beta testing group. We will choose at random a number of families with children that fit the right demographic for our testing processes. Those selected will be notified by email and will receive a pre-production Storyball and join us on our journey towards launch. If you would like to join then please send us a private message to info@mystoryball.com with the name, the age and gender of your child so that we can add you.

Finally I’m excited to share with you some much better news. A number of months ago we entered a prestigious tech event called Pioneers. In the past this event has won the Bea award for “World’s Best Conference”. 2,500 tech startups entered, 550 were shortlisted and 50 were invited to pitch across two days at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna on 8th and 9th May. We were one of the 50 invited to pitch and WE WON! See the article below:

https://pioneers.io/blog/post/storyball-takes-startup-victory-pioneers-19

This is big news for us as means it’s not only you, our Kickstarters, that believe in us but also a major players in both the Tech and Investment industries do too. Our business achievements allow us to bring you an even better product with the best play experience possible. 

Pioneer of the year 2019
Pioneer of the year 2019

Thanks again for your support and we appreciate everyone’s patience.

Chen and the Storyball Team

Pre-Production update
over 2 years ago – Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 12:55:07 AM

Dear Storyball backers,

Since our last update we are happy to say that we are making progress on all product aspects and the pieces are, almost all, put together to create Storyball. 

Prior to that, and following some feedbacks, we thought it is important to say a few words about delivery dates and moving from development stage to mass production on crowdfunding campaigns. 

As a young start up company we did not have the resources to do the shift from prototype stage to mass production without the Kickstarter campaign. At the time of the campaign, we had a full working prototype with all elements figured out - plastic parts, PCB design, battery, vibration motor, working mobile app and content which was tested with children with great success. We also selected a manufacturer in China and agreed on the process, the costs and timeline. 

So you probably ask yourself, why does it take long months to bring this to the market?... well, because when you are moving from prototypes to large scale products there are obstacles you cannot foresee. For example, as previously shared, the on/off switch underneath the plastic button broke during the 3 meters drop tests. It took few iterations on the injection mold to find a solution and get it right. Another example is the character skin which came out looking mediocre. We felt that the material was not providing the user experience we were hoping for and we produced a totally new mold with a new supplier and did not compromise on the outcome. To make the production tools you need lots of money and there are processes which you cannot expedite. Once injection mold is ready (the mold making the plastic parts) you need weeks to stabilize the parameters in the machine to inject the part you designed. And also then, there are issues with size, flashes, colors, assembly, durability (as described above) and many more. Once you are happy with the plastic parts you do the integration with the electronics and you find flaws there as well. In case the PCB is 1mm longer than what you have designed, it will not fit. Cases where the LEDs are not shown through the plastic and more issues.

Then, as shared in previous updates, quality labs tests come into the picture. Games development and mobile application are being tested and all parts integrate.

Storyball new skins
Storyball new skins
Pre-production samples
Pre-production samples

We developed the most technological, fun, innovative product and we are very proud of it and in the same time we know it is a complex product which integrates various disciplines and each one is a challenge by itself. When we launched the campaign we thought we can deliver the product earlier on November but it turned out that things take longer. Issues which we could not anticipate came up and we had to delay the delivery. 

It is important for us to have you read through this pretty long explanation because we know some of you wonder why it takes so long. We can promise you that we do not waste any day and we are working full power to make it happen and not compromise on the quality.

So, that’s it now. We know you are anxious to know when will you will get your Storyball. We estimate start of production on June. All backers will get a chance to update their information through the survey (both addresses and skins/characters).  

And for those of you who worry your kids might grow up Storyball, let us assure you this is not the case. One of Storyball's unique advantage is the ability to engage children in various ages and levels of development (like Wii for example).

The age range starts early with games that can engage as little as a 3 years old child, with more basic structure, melodies and sounds which gradually offer more challenging activities, through skins for older kids which include a more complex game structure, engage in problem solving, musical skills, critical thinking, team play and more.

Frankly, we believe that Storyball is also fun for adults and that you will find many mini-games which are great for family hangout time, parents and children together.

This has been a long journey for all of us, we appreciate your patience and thank you for supporting us along the way. 

Chen and the Storyball Team