We have featured all sorts of apps on our blog but this time what we have for you is an app developer, that develops apps exclusively for kids. Curious Hat as the name suggests develops interactive and educational mobile apps for the curious kid mind.

Apps developed by Curious Hat have revolutionized the way we think about mobile devices like iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad supporting children’s learning and development.

Curious Hat is a young start-up and the brainchild of Luca Prasso and Erwan Maigret, two veterans of the animation and computer graphic industry. Luca and Erwan worked together on many movies like Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon.

Curious Hat started with Color Vacuum that was launched in May, 2012 and over the time have developed more applications like PHLIP and Eye Paint. Curious Hat's main aim is to engage children with the real world around them using the new technologies as exploration tools and create new opportunities of interaction between adults and children. Read on to know more about Curious Hat in our exclusive interview with one of it's co-founder Luca Prasso.

1. Hi Luca, tell us something about yourself and your work. 

My name is Luca Prasso and I'm the CEO and Co-founder of Curious Hat.

I spent 17 years working at DreamWorks Animation on many animated feature films (such as Shrek) as Character Technical Supervisor alongside my Co-founder, Erwan Maigret.

We created Curious Hat in January 2012 with the idea to design mobile apps that engage children with the environment around them, whilst also stimulating the interaction with their parents.

2. What is Curious Hat all about? What inspired you to come up with it? Curious about the etymology of your website’s name.

We were inspired first and foremost by our children. Between Erwan and myself we have 4 adorable creatures ranging between 1 and 10 years old.

As parents we were fascinated by the way these "digital natives" interact with the new technologies, but scared at the same time that the same technologies would relegate them in a virtual world.

We think that exploring and creating in the real world with the help of a digital device and some good apps, offers lots of possibilities not fully explored in this market segment.

We were also attracted by the opportunity to create new tools that engage children and adults in new ways, extending their daily relationship and interaction with new possibilities.

3. How are your applications helpful for children? Please describe the functionality of your Apps.

We create open-ended playful experiences.

Our first app, Color Vacuum, introduces children to color theory and allows them to explore and collect colors they find around them using the device camera as a capturing tool. We don't impose strict game rules or levels. Once collected, the colors can become the source of a search game with rules established by the child himself.

Our second app, PHLIP, is a visual puzzle whose complexity is completely in the hands of the player. You take a photo of something visually complex and turn it into tiles (you decide how many). Then you try to solve the puzzle by physically rotating the device (as opposed to the expected approach of using touch to rotate the tiles). These 2 simple features ensure complete control of the complexity and new ways to challenge friends and family.

Eye Paint, which we released this month, is a series of apps that use the device camera to paint drawings created for Curious Hat by world-renowned illustrators.

Children are stimulated to search around for colors, patterns and textures and to fill areas of the illustration with them.

We have selected many artists for this app series from all over the world (Italy, Canada and Japan to start with), each bringing a different sense of style and sensibility.

4. Describe to our readers the creative process that is involved in creating your Apps.

We usually start with the seed of an idea, maybe a new way to use the device functionality (the camera as color sampler in the case of Color Vacuum), or a great illustrator found on the internet.

We quickly create working prototypes and test them amongst ourselves and with a few young beta testers.

We try to involve the artist as much as possible in the app design process. This usually leads to amazing discoveries. In the case of Color Vacuum, the creative team came up with the idea of the Steampunk look and the character of Professor Viktor Vapori (the scientist who created the machines in the first place 200 years ago in order to entertain and educate his children).

5. How has the journey been since you and your team launched Color Vacuum, your first product, up to this point?

We now have 4 apps in the Store: Color Vacuum, PHLIP, Eye Paint Halloween and Eye Paint Animals.

Two more Eye Paint apps (Diary and Alphabet Monsters) will be released by the end of the year.
We have 3 more apps currently in development, and although I can’t reveal more now, more details will be available soon.

Eye Paint

6. How do you promote the site? Your words of wisdom on promotion via social media channels vs word-of-mouth promotion.

Our main goal is to establish our brand and message with our primary market (parents of young children with mobile devices).

We use Facebook and Twitter, as well as our website/blog to promote compelling visual stories. We spend a lot of time creating videos that showcase our apps in new visual ways. We post photos of our young beta testers playing with our apps in parks and other outdoor locations.

7. Apart from working on creating applications, what else do you enjoy doing in your free time? What is that one book/movie/song/blog that you find yourself going back to for inspiration?

I love animation and having a 3.5 year old allows me to dig into my DVD collection and watch lots of them (often multiple times!) sitting next to him.

I end my day with a visit to design and art curated blogs and I catch up with the latest TED videos (incredibly inspiring on so many levels).

8. Do you plan on porting your apps to the Android platform? What are your future plans for Curious Hat? Any new cool application(s) in the pipeline?

We plan to port Eye Paint to the Android platform. Stay tuned for more info soon.

As mentioned before, I can’t say much about the new apps currently in development for now. I can say though that they will explore the world of photography and storytelling.

9. Top advice that you would like to share with fellow developers and entrepreneurs?

Try to innovate instead of copying what is trendy today.

Be aware of discoverability in the Store, one of the biggest hurdles for us is indie developers.
Have a story to tell, not a single app to sell.

To know more about their newly launched Eye Paint Animal app, watch the video below:

Thanks Luca for taking out the time and doing this interview with us. We'd like to wish you and Curious Hat the very best for the future.

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Update - This Thanksgiving, eat the turkey, enjoy with the family and download ALL Curious Hat's apps for FREE!
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