Identifying a need to make bedtime fun, Mike Rizkalla, CEO of techco Brave New World, is stepping into the kids space with a new interactive robot and a same-name start-up to bring it to market.
Snorble is a cuddly nighttime friend who can sing, dance, tell original stories and interact with children. In 2021, Snorble the start-up raised more than US$200,000 via an Indiegogo campaign to launch the AI-driven toys in North America this June with a companion range of picture books and apparel.
On the content side, the Snorble team has developed several bedtime stories for their robot to tell.
These relaxing yarns are all about mythical creatures in the magical land of Lullaboo, and they’re designed to lull kids to sleep. The algorithm changes up details, so each kid hears a unique story.
Leading Snorble’s content push is former Disney Imagineer Brian Collins. In his role as executive creative director, Collins has developed the robot’s lore and fleshed out Lullaboo. The team will look at expanding these concepts into additional products and adaptations going forward, says Rizkalla.
Snorble also changes its personality when kids dress the bot up in different costumes. For example, a sensor in the unicorn outfit makes the screen that acts as the bot’s face look like that of a unicorn—horn and all— and the costume unlocks stories featuring the legendary creature.
Two costumes will be available at launch, but the team plans to expand this range down the line and Rizkalla is looking for licensing partners interested in versions of Snorble featuring the faces of their characters.
To keep kids safe, Snorble doesn’t connect to the internet, and parents only need to input basic data into an app in order for the robot to track their child’s bedtime rituals—such as how long they spend brushing their teeth or when they wake up.
While its initial focus is on helping kids get to sleep, Snorble also features content designed to teach them about healthy lifestyle factors like exercise, mindfulness and meditation routines. Longer term, the goal is to expand the bot’s focus to help kids form a number of healthy habits, says Rizkalla.
“There are some forms of interactions for kids through devices like Alexa and Google Home, but none of them really connect with the child,” he says. “With Snorble, there’s the opportunity for us—and other brands—to turn characters into AI that can become a teacher and best friend for many kids.”