Updated: December 26, 2016
aNewDomain — Now that I am a father, I appreciate the need for children’s toys more than ever. My son is going to get his fair share.
But while I’m young enough to remember the future, I’m also old enough to remember boyhood days of playing with rocks and sticks, dirtified Matchbox cars, and Superballs. I spent countless hours playing outside and getting in my dirt time. My big “hand-held video game” was Merlin. There wasn’t any video screen on him. No joysticks, either. Confession: I have never owned a video game system made after the Atari 5200.
Kids today! They just have too many toys. Oh, all right … so did I. But kids today also have an array of electronic devices to grab their attention. I didn’t have an Angry Birds app or an X-Box, let alone my very own tablet. The big drawback with these electronic entertainment devices is obvious: kids get wrapped up in them and don’t get the outdoors time or the physical motion that they need. Oh, and they sort of stop paying attention to the real world, too.
The bottom line is that kids get toy after toy because they grow bored with toy after toy. Then they turn their eyes toward electronic devices and, well, they have the same type of problem. This is both unhealthy for the children and frustrating (and expensive) for parents.
So I’m excited by the idea that anything can be a toy. Anything! And I’m not talking “misused.” I mean this: What if your child could turn a spoon into a magic wand? What if a couple of dead oak branches could be transformed into lightsabers?
“That’s imagination, Brant David,” you say. “And children’s skulls are filled to the rim with that. They mentally turn spoons into magic wands and sticks into lightsabers all the time. So what?”
Children’s imaginations need a tremendous amount of constant stimulation and aid, however. Why else would they be so drawn to toys and electronics?
This is why I’m excited by the Moff. The Moff is a one-size-fits-all slap-on smartband which connects via Bluetooth to an iOS device. It is worn by a child. Don’t worry — its silicon casing keeps the electronics, and the child, safe. It also features a 30-hour battery life.
Developed by entrepreneur Akinori Takahagi, the Moff was conceived as a “wearable smart toy.” It analyzes human movement and responds in accordance by imbuing any object with certain sounds — sounds which represent things like laser guns, lightsabers, magic wands, or baseball bats connecting with baseballs.
Sound is an extraordinarily important part of our experience of, and interaction with, the world. Sound’s great importance unquestionably spills over into the world of a child’s imagination. So a wearable smart toy that transforms motion into sounds coming out of “non-toy” objects is quite an ingenious concept.
The Moff makes it possible for a child to transform everyday, perhaps “boring,” activities into enchanted, fun, and stimulating activities. If it can really help parents save on buying a plethora of toys, then it actually can be ecological and economical, too. And I personally love the fact that it operates via motion — giving children motivation to move around instead of being sedentary in front of yet another screen.
The Moff has taken off thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. If you’re the parent of a pre-teen child … or an adult blessed with a childlike and creative imagination in need of more stimulation … the Moff might be for you.
For aNewDomain, this is Brant David.