Mattel's Fisher-Price brand has updated its Smart Cycle physical learning arcade system for modern tech-loving toddlers. Originally cabled to a living room TV, the mini spin cycle can now wirelessly connect to a docked tablet or to a big screen television and is app-based rather than relying on game cartridges.
Originally released in 2007, the first version of the Smart Cycle made use of basic VCR and TV inputs (no HDMI here folks) and was designed to take preschoolers through pedal-driven learning adventures in the company of onscreen characters. Game cartridge titles including Nick Jr.Dora the Explorer Friendship Adventure, Discover the Dinosaurs and Hot Wheels Barbie Fairytopia would guide cycling students through appropriate level spelling, problem-solving, creativity and math edutainment lessons.
The 2017 model gets kids using the handlebars, joystick and pedals to advance gameplay and launches with four companion apps that "introduce a rich kindergarten-readiness curriculum that progresses as the child pedals." Only the Smart Cycle Mission to Tech City app is free to download for iOS and Android tablets, others are priced at US$4.99 a pop. The apps are also available from Amazon for its Fire tablets and Fire TV.
The multi-position handlebars sport input controls, LEDs and a joystick and there's an adjustable tablet holder mounted up front. The seat can also be adjusted for player comfort. The Smart Cycle features integrated Bluetooth LE technology for wireless connection to compatible tablets and TVs.
The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle will be available in the latter half of 2017 for a suggested retail price of US$149.99, and sure looks like a fun way to get your youngsters fit in both mind and body – without having to worry about them wandering away from the nest.
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