I ran into this accessory for the iPad in search for something different for my kids iPad.  Its consists of a reflector and an a base.  The best way I can describe this is that it acts like a “Kinect” for your iPad, but it is designed to work with a physical pieces.  Some of the games available help can be keep you entertained by  solving puzzles with blocks, playing word games with tiles with letters on it, or even use a piece of paper to make things more interesting.  Osmo’s current games are built purely for kids, but I can see myself having some fun with it.

The reflector, which is a plastic housing with a mirror, reflects the surface onto the iPad’s front-facing camera.  Its base allows the iPad to stand up in a slight slant to increase visibility and allow you to see the screen.  From there, you can use real-world objects— such as: word tiles, puzzle pieces, hand-drawn sketches, and who knows what else—as pieces to interact with one of Osmo’s free apps (currently there are three).  That clip on mirror turns an area a little larger than a piece of paper—into a digital game board.

The first games include Words, a hangman-style game where two players can compete against one another by placing word tiles in front of the iPad to fill in the blanks. Tangram is a game that lets you use Osmo’s set of colored shapes to match onscreen puzzles, with the iPad letting you know when you’ve achieved the correct placement. Newton, a physics game, requires no special game packs; you can use a pen and paper—or any object placed in front of the iPad—to create mazes that guide an onscreen ball to its target.

There is a presale bid of $50, which gets you all of Osmo’s first-gen hardware: the camera reflector and base unit, the Tangram puzzle pieces, and the Words tiles.  That’s a deal—all of those bits are to cost $100 as a package once Osmo becomes widely available by the end of summer.