Sometimes the world of technology seems to move dizzyingly fast. Twelve years ago, only 120 million people owned mobile phones. Now more than 5 billion people own a smartphone, and the figure rises every year.
Toys have been affected by this seismic shift too. They’ve become infected by new software and electronics, turning them from something static to objects with potentially infinite opportunities for exploration. Let’s take a look at some of the high tech toys that are going to revolutionize the lives of your kids.
3D Printing Pens
3D printing is one of those technologies that is endlessly hyped but not yet ready for prime time – at least in the industrial setting. When it comes to toys, the story is very different. A company called 3Doodler has developed a kind of 3D printing pen for kids.
That might sound a bit far fetched, but the pen – part of the company’s Start STEM Series – does not contain any hot elements and works simply by pushing out the printing material through the nozzle at the tip. The pen comes with a range of accessories that allow kids to make whatever they like, although it’s advisable to follow the tutorials to start with.
Exoskeletons and human bionics promise not only to improve the lives of people who have been injured in conflict or accidents but also to enhance human capabilities in general. Sure, we’re still some way off from becoming bona fide iron men, but that doesn’t mean that kids can’t enjoy playing with the idea.
Speaking of Iron Man, the notion that we can enhance our bodies with machinery is pretty mainstream, even if nobody is doing it yet. And now LittleBits has developed a Droid Inventor Kit based on the Avengers theme, that allows kids to trial a kind of Iron Man suit prototype on their wrist. The toy, which fits like a gauntlet, has lights, programmable features, and sensors. Unfortunately, they don’t supply it with a pocket-size fusion reactor for flight purposes. Perhaps that’ll come with next year’s model.
Drones are a controversial topic right now, but there’s no doubt that they’re going to play an essential role in the future across a range of industries, particularly agriculture, military and ecommerce. Right now, their primary purpose is to serve as toys, with kids and their parents clamouring for the best drones with cameras.
Getting kids started early in any hobby is important, be it music, sport or art. And drones provide keen parents with the perfect means of getting their children interested in photography. Drones allow kids to get shots at angles that just weren’t possible in the past, creating new opportunities for experimentation and creativity.
With improvements in artificial intelligence, it was only a matter of time before a company developed a cuddly toy imbued with smart software. Ubooly is a kind of intelligent device wrapped in a cuddly toy shell that can tutor kids of all sorts of topics, from numeracy to literacy and beyond.
Thanks for reading,
Josh – Contributing Author