Monozukuri Goes Digital as Children Connect in Virtual World

“What?! Wow, this is so fun!” exclaimed one child. Shouted another: “I never imagined being able to explore my own made-up world!” Cries of joy and excitement sprang forth from among the nearly 30 children at the Mobilmo™ mobile app launch event in Singapore on July 14.

Instructors help participants with the new app.

Instructors help participants with the new app.

The event was held at the gaze-capturing, lotus-flower-shaped ArtScience Museum in the Marina Bay Sands resort along Singapore’s Marina Bay waterfront. The museum’s underlining theme is the convergence of art and the digital domain, making it an ideal venue for Toyota and teamLab to unveil their jointly developed, for-children app (http://newsroom.toyota.co.jp/en/detail/17701506/).

  • Children quickly master the controls.
    Children quickly master the controls.
  • A participating child displays her "Mobilmo".
    A participating child displays her “Mobilmo”.

Mobilmo™ is an app for smartphones and tablets that allows users to combine 3D parts to invent traveling contraptions called “Mobilmo”. Mobilmo can be used to explore a virtual planet, where users can meet and exchange parts. At a workshop that was a part of the launch event in Singapore, children from ages 10-18 were provided an opportunity to try out the new app.

At first, the children fiddled around with their screens, seemingly not knowing what to do next. But, before long, perhaps partly due to the app’s easy-to-understand and intuitive design, they began swiping their hands and flicking their fingers as if they were experts. Their overflowing imagination enabled them to invent Mobilmos of previously unthinkable shapes and capable of unprecedented movement. “Endless possibilities for combining parts makes this so much fun that I’m hooked!” said one child, as new Mobilmos came to digital life one after the other.

Seeing the high level of creativity displayed by the children surprised both the adults accompanying them and the instructors on hand who were explaining how to use the app.

  • The new app captivates a young user.
    The new app captivates a young user.
  • Smiles filled the launch event.
    Smiles filled the launch event.

Yu Yoshida of Toyota Motor Corporation’s Marketing Division explained Toyota’s hopes by saying: “We would be happy if this app gives children flashes of inspiration and boosts their creative powers.”

Mobilmo™ provides children with an opportunity to discover new ways of making something truly unique and to connect with others. Toyota sees the app as having the potential to contribute to the advancement of “digital monozukuri (making things)”, which is expected to accelerate, and believes the Singapore event provided a good glimpse of exciting things to come.