Saturday, November 12, 2011

iPad + Real Toys: It's About Time!

I saw something at Target the other day that had me really excited. Not because it, in itself, is a really cool toy - but it's the first I've seen of its kind, and it likely marks the beginning of what I think will be a very cool category of toys and learning tools.

They're called AppMates, and so far these Cars 2 toys seem to be the only ones that exist. The idea is simple - you have a physical car toy that the iPad can sense. You download the free racing app, and you can race your real car toy on the virtual race track on your iPad.

Like I said, not that awesome right now. But think of the possibilities! You could theoretically build a manipulative that was not only sensed by the iPad, but also could detect what was displayed beneath it, giving you two-way communication of a sort. I once had an idea for a book that would act as a companion to existing popular Nintendo DS games, outlining activities that combined the game with the real world to simulate scientific activities - for example, using Viva PiƱata as a location for doing observations similar to those a biologist would do in the field. That sort of idea plus this technology could do some really amazing things!

This post cross-posted to The Cognitive Informalist.

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