Tech-free soft toy becomes an augmented reality learning experience with an app for smart devices.
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There’s lots of tech out there that developers are now seeing has the potential to educate, such as a VR headset and story book that teaches kids about finances or a cooking app that helps develop healthy eating habits early, and now a new soft toy is harnessing the power of augmented reality (AR) to aid extra curricular education.
Parker, by Seedling, is a plush teddy bear that features no internal or external technology of its own, not even batteries. However, when combined with Seedling’s app, Parker yields an array of interactive AR features via smart device cameras. Parker’s interactivity covers all the necessaries of a STEAM toy (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math): by using a few extra peripherals such as an x-ray apron (all of which are made of wood or other well-crafted materials), kids can learn the basics of biology, seeing Parker’s internal organs and helping the bear to overcome upset stomachs and fevers, solve simple math puzzles and draw on the virtual representation of parker (without having to graffiti the bear itself). Like the Tamagotchis of old, children are rewarded for caring for Parker by seeing its happiness levels increase, which in turn unlocks more games and greater interactivity. While the Seedling app is available for Android and iOS, Parker is being sold primarily through the Apple store and will feature a greater level of interactivity through iOS devices by making use of Apple’s new ARKit software. Parker is available now, retailing at USD 59.95.