About Athena 2017-05-21T16:16:19+00:00

Announcing Athena: our next VR/AR game!

#annapurnaNamed after the Goddess of Wisdom and based on a game concept we developed with Heifer International many years ago, the initial concept has now evolved into Athena, taking VR story-telling and AI to the next level.

In most games today, there is an element of immersiveness: the flow that happens when you get lost in the depths of the story and the quest, when nothing else matters than when you get to the end and finally solve that puzzle. In a VR/AR game, like a book, you can fly, you can morph, you can push the boundaries of reality. Flow was beautifully defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as the “…state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what they are doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.”

We want to harness this flow into our newest product: Athena, by blending AI, gamification and curated curriculum from our education partners. Calling it an immersive VR/AR experiment, we are building our game in episodes, by leveraging leading education research with a dash of IDEO design methodology, to create a personalized, learning journey into a VR world, filled with contextual stories and puzzles. By identifying the student’s core strengths and building custom learning quests to continue developing them, our AI learning engine will amplify existing educator goals and adapt to your child’s learning needs.

We are partnering with our education partners, nonprofits and other relevant story tellers to drive ideas of empathy and global citizenry within the world of Athena. We’re also partnering with local educators to identify existing gaps and develop solutions that seamlessly integrate with our technology.

Why are we doing this?

The data shows that our educational system is overloaded with limited resources. Many children at different levels are struggling with the existing school system and are simply not feeling engaged enough to learn. More importantly, there are over 10 million+ kids with special needs that are not being served by the educational system as we know it, today. Think we’re making this up? Take a look at the data:

  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/developmentaldisabilities/about.html
  • https://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/pop1.asp

The numbers show the truth: the level of disengagement goes up as the student progresses through the educational system. We believe we can fix this and we want to try. As parents to young children, as software technologists and as AI enthusiasts, we believe we can solve this issue through the thoughtful use of technology.

For us, Csikszentmihalyi’s statement about flow state, resonated for the type of game we wanted Athena to be: one that lets the player “…achieve a flow state, [with]  a balance…struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. Both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results.”

We believe that by making Athena, an accessible game for all children, our children will be able to access free, curated educational content, in a secure game world that encourages creative thinking and innovative problem solving, while stepping away from the fear of failure and isolation.

We believe that by putting Athena into the hands of a child’s first educators, our parents, we will be able to harness a customized learning technology that will respond as the child grows and provide information back to the parents to help them guide their children.

We believe that by putting Athena into our teachers’ hands, we will be able to amplify their voices and help them with tools and other relevant resources to continue educating our children.

Do wish us luck as always! We are now moving from our ideation phase into our prototype phase: time for the rubber to hit the road, as they say. We are really excited, so stay tuned as we continue to learn and grow on our journey to build Athena.




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