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CMF to fund new social app developed by alumni startup

May 26, 2011 By webdev

MDM alumni-founded 8 Leaf Digital Productions was recently awarded a significant investment from the Canada Media Fund (CMF) to develop a new social media application designed for outdoor playgrounds.

The Biba Mobile Application, which uses advanced mobile technology to enhance kids’ playground experiences, was selected among 200 applicants under CMF’s Experimental Stream funding program. The program promotes the development of leading edge, interactive digital media projects. A not-for-profit corporation, CMF's mandate is to help emerging, innovative Canadian content and software applications for digital platforms succeed through funding and research.

“I’m really excited to be part of the Experimental Stream of the CMF. This funding opportunity goes a long way in helping explore new media and support local young producers across the country,” said Ryan Nadel, who founded 8 Leaf after graduating from the Masters of Digital Media program in 2010.

8 Leaf has fast-tracked a working prototype, which was put to its first live playground test earlier this month. As explained on the Biba website, the app blends digital sensors with physical movement, to create a mobile "virtual playground space." It allows  kids to merge outdoor socialization and play with the fun and interactivity of social media and mobile games. Taking the traditionally sedentary indoors games outside, kids can use Biba to engage in what Nadel describes as “digitally-enhanced active entertainment.”

In addition to Biba, Nadel works with fellow MDM graduates Salvia Dhall and Bryant Drew Jones, and other engineers and artists at 8 Leaf on wide-ranging digital projects, including learning platforms, iPhone applications, alternate reality games, and interactive e-books.

(As part of their research and development of Biba, 8 Leaf is currently seeking online feedback from parents of kids aged 6-14 on their child's use (or non-use) of mobile devices. To participate, go to 8leafdigital.com/survey.html)