Tremendous switches, toys and tangible interactions

While working on a project about kids' joysticks/pads and remote control, few months back, I would have certainly been happy to ran across this switches done by an australian company called Technical Solutions (found on this great blog about 'making toys'). They are amazing! I am a great fan of those, especially the floating pillow (on the left below) and the textured roller switch (on the right):

Why do I blog this? It seems that the toy industry already has good insights to offer for people interested in tangible interactions with crazy devices like those above.

This lead me to find of an article written by Edith Ackerkmann for the IDC 2005 conference: Playthings That Do Things: A Young Kid’s “Incredibles”!. The paper raises relevant issues about kids, toys, autonomy and materials. It's more focused on animated toys but it also addresses ""many no-tech or low-tech toys exist, which afford the thrill of controlling things at a distance". More about this here when I get time to peruse the paper more properly. Just one quote:

In interacting with artificial cyber-creatures, the question of significance is not so much how does it work but rather what does it achieve (on its own), and how should it be treated (manipulated or controlled) so that it responds (to one’s solicitations) in interesting ways. In other words, taking a cyber-creature apart (for the sake of transparency) is an awkward thing to do (unless you are a programmer).