Trends in Smart Toy Technology
June 8th, 2015 by Rebecca Norman
Smart toys that have enhanced electronic capabilities such as speech recognition have been in high demand since the breakthrough of Tamogotchi pets in the mid 1990s.
More than 76 million Tamagotchis, a handheld digital pet created in Japan, sold worldwide. The phrase “Tamagotchi effect” describes the combination of emotion that a smart toy can evoke in its owner.
The current trend in smart toys is for those that can hold a true conversation. Apple’s Siri first popularized new features in speech recognition and machine learning. Now, developers are seeking ways to build such capabilities into cute packaging as toys. Some talking toys that have already debuted include Mattel’s first chat-friendly Barbie and IBM’s talking plastic dinosaur.
A recent article by Dan Kedney of Time looked at these developments and the latest smart toy, Musio, the talking robot.
Musio is from the startup AKA, which wants to bring it to market within the next year.
Musio has a built-in memory bank that can store up to 64GB of personal information about its owner. This memory bank will allow Musio to engage in conversations through recollections of previous key words.
Originally conceived as an English language tutor for students in Asia, Musio could now serve in dual roles as both a smart toy and an educational tool for classroom learning.Kedney reports that AKA’s resident linguist was previously an English teacher in South Korea brought in to train the system.