Friday, February 1, 2013

A new twist on play therapy

What will be the types of toys kids will be playing with in 10 years time? It’s not always that easy to look into that murky crystal ball to make predictions l0 years out. But there are a number of clues and they involve technology and mechanics. Not only is technology getting faster, cheaper, smaller but it’s also much more ubiquitous. Who would have imagined, for example, that an electric motor would be driving a toothbrush before the 60’s. Oh, and before I forget, batteries seem to be lasting longer too.

So we can pretty much say that toys of the future will include technology featuring speed, miniaturization and low cost. We can go a step further and throw in high-speed connectivity allowing the toy to connect with its manufacturer (let’s say creator), connect with data-stores providing it with new game options, scenarios and adaptations. But perhaps more importantly, these toys may be able to connect with other toys of similar genre as well as ground themselves through GPS.

So how about imbedded technology breathing life into the toys of the future; personality traits, memory, copied (learned) behaviors, learning abilities, and probably (and crucially) an ability to interact with kids. I don’t just mean a traditional computer screen but toys that might search and hold eye gaze, listen and speak in multiple tongues, learn their environment and navigate that space.

What about toys acting as communication devices, toys as therapists (a new twist on play therapy), toys helping with homework, toys acting as smart agents, toys prompting kids to do their choirs and even toys that quit playing when kids become naught or not nice.

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