Jooki is a digital music player for children which is operated via amiibo-like toy figurines and tokens rather than screens and menus. Aimed at younger music lovers, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker features built-in music storage, and uses a unique play figurine method of selecting what you want to listen to.
The kid-focused jukebox is the brainchild of a trio of dads who have worked for the likes of Google and Huawei, and who wanted to give their children the ability to select and listen to the music they wanted, but without giving them another screen to get distracted by. Jooki is currently on Kickstarter where it has exceeded its funding target.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
At first glance Jooki looks like any other wireless speaker, with styling similar to an Ultimate Ears speaker like the UE Boom 2. It's a world away from the wooden Horbert MP3 player for kids we saw a few years ago. However, it's how kids interact with Jooki which could make it something special, and mean that parents don't need to act as DJ every time their child wants to swap songs.
That's because children can start listening to the music of their choice by simply placing one of the included star tokens or cute figurine toys onto an NFC point in the center of the speaker, something they'll be used to doing from playing with Skylanders or Nintendo's amiibo. There are physical buttons too, for things like skipping through tracks, pausing the playback or adjusting volume.
Parents can set up what music is installed on the 4 GB internal memory of Jooki via a companion app, or using a computer. Here they can select what album, song, or playlist (the Wi-Fi speaker also works with Spotify) each star token or figurine will start playing. They also control whether the music should stop, pause, or continue playing if the star, which use suction cups to hold onto Jooki, is removed.
Other parental controls include the ability to set a limit for the volume that each star token or figurine plays the music at, or a time for the device to turn on or off. Parents will also be pleased that there's a 3.5-mm headphone jack, because there's only so many times you can hear the Frozen soundtrack and keep your sanity. They can also use the app as a remote control, and listen to their own tunes on Jooki like any other Bluetooth speaker.
Jooki measures 175 x 175 x 70 mm (6.8 x 6.8 x 2.7 in) and weighs 700 g (25 oz). It's said to be splash-proof (but not waterproof) and the rechargeable battery should give around eight hours of music playback.
Kickstarter pledges for the Jooki jukebox currently start at €139 (that's about US$155) with one star figurine and five star tokens. An additional €5 ($5.50) will get you one more star figurine, or five more star tokens. If all goes to plan, Jooki should star shipping in June 2017.
You can check out the Kickstarter promo video for Jooki below.