As the toy industry gathers for the American International Toy Fair, Steve Rad has announced the founding of Abacus Brands, a new tech-toy company based in Seattle, WA, dedicated to bringing fun to STEM learning exercises for kids.
As the former VP of Sales and Marketing for SpiceBox, a publishing company creating educational books and activity kits for children in Vancouver BC, Rad developed a range of interactive activity kits utilizing augmented reality to better position the company within the toy space. He created the original tech-centric Professor Maxwell’s 4D Lab science kits.
Since its founding, Abacus Brands has taken the Professor Maxwell line to a whole new level with Professor Maxwell’s VR Lab, incorporating multifaceted Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies that introduce children to STEM learning exercises in a new way.
“VR is not just the future, it’s now,” said Rad, founder and president of Abacus Brands. “Our mission is to provide a fun way to learn as we align ourselves with the landscape in which kids digest and process information today.”
Professor Maxwell’s VR Lab, available this summer, are immersive activity kits wit Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies on every page. The virtual “Professor Maxwell” guides kids through each six themed kits, including Magic, Science, Chef, Universe, Atlas, and Safari themes, engaging them with physical projects while fostering learning through immersive experimentation and play. The colorful lesson book in each kit literally comes to life, with Professor Maxwell leading the way through each curriculum. With a “Learn, Experience, Play” play pattern, the interactive kits actually put the kids in the lab and immerse them into multiple layers of mixed reality. Throughout the instructions, children can delve deeper into the VR/AR environments to uncover various “How it Works!” learning experiences, while bringing fun to the discovery of fundamental lessons they explore.
The “Learn-Experience-Play” play pattern has been applied to all Professor Maxwell Activity Kits, along with securing several patents and partnerships like the Magic Castle and SpaceX to elevate each kit.