In today's society working parents don’t have time to interact with their children all day. Instead they use a variety of technologies including cameras to keep a check on the wellbeing of their children. This toy merges the realms of interactive play with monitoring
Popular toys were evaluated and the Care Bear™, was selected as an easy to hack prototype version of the concept. The internal wiring of this mechanical toy was re-routed through a Raspberry Pi, which was Wi-Fi enabled for two way communication. On the software side the Google Now Platform was used for a voice based interaction method where the parent could trigger a dance of the toy remotely. A physical “hug” of the device was translated to a virtual hug on the parent’s mobile device.
As a high-fidelity prototype it was necessary to have a prototype that was visually appealing and not have any wires hanging around. Given the limited time for this project this was achieved successfully by incorporating various sensors within the cloth structure of the toy and using stitching to hide the electronics and wiring.
Interactive toys have started to make their way into the market. This prototype toy is a valuable platform for potential user trials to evaluate the acceptance of such devices amongst parents and their children.