One of the unexpected discoveries that I made at DLD wasn’t an introduction or a technological advancement, but came whilst I was in the audience for a panel of developers talking about new apps. Amongst the men (& a 16yr old boy-entrepreneur) talking about their disruptive new ideas, was an Indian girl who had brought her business to the table, Khoya, a beautiful story-telling app for the iPad that allows children to not only explore the story but participate in it in their surroundings. In a way, it felt like the most disruptive idea of all: something that has the capability to change the way children read and engage with literature.
The brainchild of illustrator Shilo Shiv Suleman, it is ravishing, and watching the story unfolding on the iPad when Shilo and I sat down for a drink later that evening, made me realise for the first time how children will read in the future. I kept thinking of my six year old godson who has just discovered proper reading books and who also loves technology, and how exploring a proper old-fashioned quest tale, like the one at the heart of Khoya, mixed with proper interactivity, would blow his little inquisitive mind.
And, even though the latest technology and wonderful ideas for augmenting the game with reality lie at its heart, Khoya still couldn’t exist without proper old fashion illustration and story-telling. (Shilo described her illustration input as “three months of bleeding fingers”.)
Here’s her illustration evolution for the character of the Mapmaker:
http://khoya-app.blogspot.com and there’s a link there to the Apple App store: Khoya is $4.99.