American startup Dynepic understands something every small child does: toys can, and do, talk to each other. And you can talk to them, too. Dynepic is aiming to develop an "Internet of Toys" architecture where toys and their controlling devices – the DynePods – are connected and controllable via an open source cloud system which can be programmed from an iPad.
The notion of the Internet of Things is that it will be ubiquitous by nature, and toys are no exception. Dynepic, a startup out of North Carolina founded by Krissa Watry, an MIT-educated rocket scientist, is getting in on the act with a deceptively simple cloud system based around a wearable keypad, which children above five can program using a simple IF/THEN code displayed in graphics.
The DynePod is basically a wearable device that can detect other DynePods via sensor. It uses a Bluetooth connection, and has a basic LED display on its front much like a digital watch and operates via four modes that include a standalone mode and a “fully connected play mode” that links the little DynePod to cloud services.
One child can program their tablet to recognize when a friend’s toy is in range and set off an alert. Another possibly useful function (albeit one that could sow some acrimony) is that children can create an alarm that lets you know when someone is opening your toy chest.
Parents are able to monitor all programming designed by children and can also use the devices as a kind of locator, setting an alert on their tablet to go off should their child, wearing the DynePod, wander outside a specific boundary. The DynePod's also vibrate as part of their alert system and have a speaker so they can buzz when alerting wearers of things.They are compatible with iPhone 4S and iPad 3rd Gen or anything newer.
Ms Watry’s aim was to create educational toys that addressed STEM learning concerns. That is, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These can be areas in which many children lag behind.
The founders stress that it is early days yet for their "Internet of Toys architecture," but plan to expand things exponentially eventually, creating a large system where children can learn as they play and customize their toy collection with 3D printing and more programming options.
Dynepic’s work was funded under a National Science Foundation contract of US$200,000 in 2012 and won $30,000 in the Wild Pitch for Startups at this year’s Dig South, a digital innovation festival in Charleston, North Carolina. A Kickstarter campaign was launched on November 15 that aims to raise $30,000 to go towards development. A pledge of $79, or above, will you get a DynePod pack shipped to you around June 15 if all goes to plan. However, the company is only shipping with the United States at this point.