March 12, 2008 Small children have an uncanny ability to understand and use electronic devices quickly and correctly. You’re happy when your child wants to learn but when their buttery fingers caress your new laptop or digital camera it’s time to introduce them to their own toys! The industrial design company think/thing (designer of the recently featured Nestt car seat), has developed OUiP!, an intuitive, interactive technology interface for children.
The OUiP! (which stands for Optimized Universal Interface Platform! and is pronounced "(h)wip") is a handheld electronic device powered by any motion from swinging to shaking. The movement causes the images on the button-less device to change and will also emit vibrations and sounds: an image of a cow for example, is coupled with the sound of mooing.
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Furthermore, as your child plays they are also charging the battery, as the device’s battery power is supplemented by electro-magnetic generators that are put into motion by force.
The device is made from polycarbonate screen bezel and cork base which is built on a biodegradable corn plastic chassis so it’s sustainable and more importantly, given that it could, quite feasibly, be thrown across the room, it’s shatter resistant as well.
OUiP! has a Linux core which will allow for an infinite number of games and applications and is suitable for a wide range of ages and cognitive ability.
Unlike other electronic devices, OUiP! responds to the amount and type of force which is exerted so it ‘learns’ behavior. The goal of the design was to create a "multi-purpose companion rather than a single-purpose toy", extending the shelf life of the device so that it can be used by your child for years and years.
OUiP! is still in the prototype stage but the designers have plans to include special ‘libraries’ which will include illustrations and photographs of animals, the alphabet and flash card pairs. You will be able to upload images and devices via wireless transfer from a computer at home so the device will be as individual as your child.
OUiP! is designed to grow and develop with your child through play, it’s practical and easy-to use and should keep little hands away from your expensive personal devices!
Incorporating active play into electronic interfaces is a positive phenomenon that's gaining ground. Fisher-Price, for example recently gained recognition at the TOTY awards for its Smart Cycle Physical Learning Arcade System.
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