ToyBots WooZee: Internet- and iPhone-Enabled Dream Toy or Nightmare?
Imagine being 8 again, and waking up to your favorite toy singing you a song and asking to play games. Awesome, huh? Then suddenly it says you have a message from your dad and plays it for you. This is what it might be like for your kids someday thanks to ToyBots WooZees and their Magical Network.
ToyBots — a spin off of Social Gaming Network — unveiled their secret project at TechCrunch50: the Woozie, a blue rock and roll bear…thing… with cellular connectivity, which allows it to be constantly updated with content. This also leaves the door open for a website based control system, as well as (you guessed it) an iPhone app controller.
In the video the creators demo the ability for the Woozee to wake a child up in the morning and play a message from her father. Apparently he has an audiobook that the Woozie read to the child at bedtime since he’s away on business. Can’t spend quality time with your child? Get a toy to do it for you.
Instead of building toys themselves, the team at ToyBots is hoping to license their technology instead, and are about to announce a major partnership with a wireless provider. They hope to create The Magic Network — an Open SDK based App Store where IP providers and developers can create new content. Sounds kind of like the Chumby stuffed into a teddy bear.
My mind quickly strays to how weird it could become. I believe the majority of people are pretty scared about toys coming to life and talking to them (or worse). Then throw in some Internet connectivity and an open development platform and I get a little freaked out. Don’t get me wrong this could be entertaining the kids, and with an open platform some amazing things could be created. Can they guarantee these little blue guys can’t get hacked?