Current studies all point to the importance of play for the development of a child's brain, especially early in life. Interacting with physical things, like toys and stuffed animals, can also have a profound effect on childhood development. But children want to interact with the things their older siblings and family members have - screens. Octobo by Thinker-Tinker allows these kids to have the best of both worlds.
Octobo is a large stuffed animal with a cutout in its face for both an eye and a mouth. By placing an iPad, Fire tablet, or Android tablet into Octobo, the character turns from a standard stuffed animal into one that can be interacted with in many ways. The first and most obvious is the ability for Octobo to respond to interaction with appropriate emotions. This is done through sensors throughout the body which allows for live feedback to touch.
Another great feature is the ability for interactive storytelling. We all remember how much fun choose your own adventure books were when we were older. Unfortunately, that kind of interaction used to require being able to read. However, with Octobo, kids who are pre-reading ability can still interact with a story without being able to read. This is accomplished through an RFID reader built into the base of the stuffed animal and plush RFID chips. By placing the chips on the reader, the child is able to interact and adjust a story from a growing library of storybooks and other content.
Octobo is intended to learn and grow with the child, making it a long-term purchase for parents and a long-term friend for kids. You can purchase a standard Octobo for $149 and the advanced pack for $199 directly from Thinker-Tinker, or get the advanced pack on Amazon for $179. For more information on Octobo or to purchase, check out the company's website.
Interview by Marlo Anderson of The Tech Ranch.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.