With phones, cars, computers, tablets and many other everyday products having built-in “intelligent personal assistants” providing you with answers, directions or delegations of your requests it was only a matter of time before the same kind of technology dove into toys, smart toys.
What is a “Smart Toy” exactly? Wikipedia defines it as, “a toy which effectively has its own intelligence by virtue of on-board electronics. These enable it to learn, behave according to pattern, and alter its actions depending upon environmental stimuli. Typically, it can adjust to the abilities of the player.” While Brainy Child, a website dedicated to child brain development, further defines it by specific functionalities: “Toys that use technology to enhance play by interacting with the child either through (1) initiation of “open-ended” play suggestions, or (2) responding to the child’s actions in a way that sparks the child’s creativity.”
So basically what we’re working with here is a toy that essentially interacts with children based on their actions and responses making the experience unique to the user and thus having vast opportunities for educational impact. Most of which function via applications and are iOS compatible allowing you to navigate its software by use of phone, tablet or computers. Smart toys can learn, follow behavioral patterns and even change their action.
One smart toy that is gaining a lot of recognition is “Edwin the Duck”. Edwin appears to be like any rubber ducky that we’ve all become familiar with, the kind that oftentimes accompany children at bath time. But, as it’s tagline states, “he’s no ordinary duck”. Like his predecessors, Edwin is in fact waterproof, floats and enjoys bath time just as much as the others but he steps it up by also providing water temperature and music. Moreover, he is said to make learning fun by way of app enhancement that allows for story time, play time, song time and sleepy time. The Edwin App is in constant development and will grow with children “coming to life with original stories, songs and games.”
Smart toys have quickly caught the attention of many parents as they combine fun with education. Some advantages are said to improve hand-eye coordination, verbal and written communication, patience as well as listening and following directions.
Times for toys are certainly changing, what will they come up with next?
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