New York, Aug 27: As screen addiction increases at a worrying pace among children, an IIT-educated Indian entrepreneur couple has launched creative puzzles that seek to serve as an educational tool for children and has embarked on a crowdfunding campaign to penetrate the US and other markets.
Rajat Dhariwal and his wife Madhumita Halder founded Wyoming-based MadRat Games and have launched a Kickstarter project to raise USD 25,000 to bring its new three-games-in- one puzzle 'Madzzle' to the market.
Dhariwal, an IIT and Carnegie Mellon alumnus, left a job at Amazon and took up teaching young children at schools. Aiming to "reinvent the jigsaw puzzle", he and his wife created unique board games that also served the purpose of educating children.
Dhariwal told PTI that there is an increasing anxiety among parents over the long hours children nowadays spend glued to their TV, computer or phone screens.
"Parents were anxious about the diminishing attention span, need for constant stimulation and lack of social exposure in kids. Madzzle was born to make the kids snap out of the screen," he said.
"It was to counter-balance this screen addiction that we felt the need to create a game which is more exciting for the kids than iPads and mobiles," he said, adding that jigsaw puzzles have a fascinating format and "there is something about a jigsaw puzzle you cannot leave it unfinished."
After a test launch in select stores, the duo is now keen to take the games to the global markets. Dhariwal said among the challenges his company faces is that of mass production.
"This would involve automating fabrication of key components, most of which is done manually now. And that's the reason we are on Kickstarter," he said.
Targeted at the 7-11 age group, Madzzle also recently won the Parents' Choice Award in the US. Dhariwal said Madzzle is a three-games-in-one zero gap puzzle that serves as an educational tool for children.
The puzzle itself is designed to be re-playable so that children do not lose interest.
Among the unique features of Madzzle is that it is the world's first jigsaw puzzle that rolls up and can be stored in a cylindrical package, has a zero gap feature that provides seamless play experience, comes with magnifying lenses, has a glow in the dark mode and illusion decoders.
The games are set on interesting explorer themes like 'Bermuda Triangle', 'Mysteries of the Amazon' and 'Worldopedia' that will keep the child engaged and curious to learn more. The games include a jigsaw puzzle, a hidden pictures hunt and a card-data duel.