TheO Transforms the iPhone into a Smart Ball

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best ones. TheO is nothing more than a foam ball with a cutout that lets users wedge their iPhone into the center of the sphere. What that creates is a new framework for app creation, an effort being led by developer Physical Apps.

The idea is to combine app games with active movement and social play (not the online kind, the people right next to you kind). Right now, three games – Hot Potato, Interrogo, and Bowling – are working and on display at the American International Toy Fair. Interrogo is an ice-breaker game that asks a different question to each person after it is thrown. Each app uses the accelerometer standard in most smartphones to function.

Despite appearances, the phone is wedged in that gap pretty tightly. A new ball will protect your iPhone pretty well, but gradual wear and tear could loosen that grip, so it’ll be interesting to see the solutions Physical Apps comes up with.

From here, TheO will only be as good as the apps that Physical Apps and – hopefully – others create for it. But, that’s the beauty of simplicity – with something as simple as foam ball, the possibilities are just about endless.