Wireless plush toys

The latest issue of Metropolis has a piece about interactive toys by Ricci Shryock. It presents some innovative examples, based on a context-aware model ("wireless plush toy design"):

"My Beating Heart. The plush, $120 toy uses microchip technology to mimic a human heartbeat. Gitman says users feel as if they are hugging a pet or a loved one when they hug the toy, and it soothes their heartbeats to a meditative state. (...) the Needies plush doll as a great example of the interactive trend. The “Needies” are large plush dolls that can sense when another doll is getting some love. The unattended doll will then sing and call out for the attention it craves."

(Picture is: the My Beating Heart project and a Needie, courtesy of Metropolis Mag.)

But what is interesting is:

"Gitman believes designer toys have oversaturated the market and are ready for updates that add interactive features to spice up the consumer’s options. (...) But Blum adds the trick is to develop the function of the toy along the same lines as the toy’s artistic appearance— “To market it as a whole, we have to present these as pieces of art rather than just toys, and these functions should be the kind of thing that can develop tangential with that design.”"

Why do I blog this? interactive toys is an intriguing field to watch with regards to ubiquitous computing. It's somehow not connected in the general discourse but there are some good relations plus chances that some toys would be more interesting than intelligent fridges. Besides, toys can be seen a trojan horse for certain technologies.