Play time has dramatically changed over the years. What was once a rag doll is now an iPad. Toy robots have become iPads. Mud pies? iPads. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Reigniting the imagination of children is still possible, not by forcing antique toys on them, but taking the best bits from both eras and combining them. Berlin based startup Vai Kai have done just that by creating Avakai – a beautifully crafted wooden figurine with all the technology whizz-bang of the modern age.
The figurines communicate with one another via haptic feedback, coloured light and music and allow the user to create a range of games around them. While some games come as standard children are encouraged to create their own and play with them in whichever way their imagination takes them.
One preinstalled game is hide-and-seek which activates when two figurines are held close to each other for a few seconds.
Inside is a Bluetooth Low Energy module, a rechargeable battery, capacitive touch sensors, audio player and an Arduino-compatible microcontroller. The ability to modify Avakai is an exciting feature for mums and dads who have dabbled with Arduinos. The hackability of it means new and unique games can be created and with the possibility of teaching how to program along the way.
Vai Kai’s Kickstarter campaign will launch soon with early backers receiving one for £58 and a pair for £109. Sign up to their newsletter at VaiKai.com to be notified of the campaign launch.