Burble Creativity, Inc. Develops AvA, A Learning Tent that Sparks Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills
By Press Release — August 19, 2019 — An invention to revolutionize storytelling is coming from the Riverside-based start-up company, Burble Creativity, Inc. (Burble). Behind the scenes at the Burble lab, based at Bourns Inc. in Riverside, is a team of tech gurus, engineers, audio experts, and visual directors working tirelessly on the company’s first product known as AvA. The storytelling tent uses light and sound to encourage the reader’s imagination to take over. AvA is a prototype currently in beta testing that launched on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding platform that garners support and funding for creative projects, on August 14.
Burble CEO Taylor Cole is a Riverside native, and chief technology officer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Division. In between juggling family, his career and a start-up company, he is also a board member for Riverside’s engineering colleges at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and California Baptist University (CBU).
We took some time to catch up with Cole to find out more about the local start-up that has the potential to make big waves in the tech and education worlds.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur in the Inland Empire? I grew up here and received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCR in engineering. All that I know about the tech and engineering world happened right here in my own backyard. This region was founded by hard-working business men and women, and today is a flourishing scene for start-ups like Burble. I owe a lot to my community and team of creatives to now be in that realm as an entrepreneur, because they helped bring my ideas to life.
What is AvA? AvA is a children’s camping tent that’s been decked out with lights and sound to create a multi-sensory experience that encourages imagination and problem-solving skills. AvA is used in tandem with a mobile app, which contains a library of stories that teach important life lessons like patience, humility and courage. Descriptive details are intentionally left out of the stories, so the user’s imagination can take hold as they experience a mix of lights and sounds. These effects open the user up to Burble’s provisionally patented technology called minimally defined immersion (MDI) – leaving the user room to envision their own characters, plot twists and more. The purpose of AvA is to revolutionize storytelling, provide therapy options, encourage creativity and build problem-solving skills all while creating fun, meaningful ways for parents and children to connect
When will AvA launch? Currently, we have 10 AvA prototypes being produced at the Burble lab. Upon completion, six of the prototypes will be distributed for efficacy testing, while the remainder will stay at the lab for continued content development and demo purposes. On August 14, 2019, Burble launched AvA on Kickstarter. With Kickstarter, Burble aims to establish relationships with passionate investors who can help enhance the AvA product aesthetic, manufacturing quality, and efficacy research. Once we get AvA ready for consumer use, our goal is to bring this into homes and classrooms across the nation.
What is minimally defined immersion (MDI)? Minimally defined immersion (MDI) is a concept that uses an enclosed space, like the AvA tent, and incorporates theatrical elements like lights and sound with storytelling to produce an experience that encourages imagination and engagement. Like virtual reality and augmented reality, Burble’s MDI uses technology, environmental manipulation and sensory stimulation, however, it does not cause a separation between the user and the real world. In fact, it helps the user be ever-present.
Who does AvA benefit? AvA is intended for children, parents and educators. Additionally, AvA has the potential to help children with developmental disabilities such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and auditory processing disorders, to name a few. I too, live with audio processing disorder, and have a difficult time understanding and interpreting speech, so AvA is very special to me.
How was AvA first created? Any entrepreneur knows how crafty you have to get building out the first prototypes to bring an awesome idea to life. Funny enough, my daughter Tessa and I actually built the first AvA prototype using PVC pipe in the parking lot of Home Depot, laughing and dancing to the band Aerosmith. This prototype eventually took a library tour across Riverside. Looking back, we’ve come a long way with AvA, working through multiple prototypes, troubleshooting what works and what doesn’t. Today, Burble is a team of passionate engineers, researchers, writers and creatives, who make the magic of AvA happen.
What are some lessons learned as a start-up entrepreneur in the Inland Empire? I’ve learned the value of community support. Our team does everything in its power to become successful, but ultimately the backing from our family, friends, neighbors, and fellow businesses makes the biggest difference.
How has Bourns, Inc. helped? Specifically, the Bourns Technology Center has provided Burble with a home. The facility offers incubator space to a number of local start-ups and manufacturing companies. Their Riverside location keeps us all tied to the community so that we don’t have to commute and can foster our creative thoughts and inventions here locally.
For more information on Burble visit burblecreativity.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube @BurbleCreativity. Remember to support this local start-up and AvA on Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ava-the-story-tent/ava-the-immersive-storytent?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=burble%20creativity