CES 2012: Sesame Street Hints AR Tablet Toys Will Be the Tickle-Me Elmo of 2012
January 11, 2012 12:00 PM
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Be warned your child may be screaming for a tablet soon
As if "Tickle-me Elmo" wasn't bad enough, now the Sesame Workshop --
makers of Sesame Street
-- have to come along and whip children into a frenzy over smartphones and tablets.
At a humorous section in Qualcomm Inc.'s (
) Tuesday morning presser, Sesame Workshop director and chief operating officer H. Melvin Ming talked about how he never knew what he was going to face for the day -- adults or screaming kids. He quipped, "I'm relieved to be in a room today with tech-savvy adults."
Soon Grover took to the stage for a jaw-dropping (for Grover at least) demo of a hot new high tech toy from Sesame Workshop. The Sesame Street Playset is a series of nondescript blocks, but it uses Qualcomm's Vuforia --
an augmented reality (AR)
and 3D modelling suite -- to bring the objects to life.
By taking pictures of the 3D characters (think little Sesame Street action figures), Bert and Ernie sprung to life on the smartphone/tablet, talking to the observer. You could take more pictures of objects to add more vibrant objects to the room -- such as a TV that insulted Grover's waiting skills and a jukebox.
Of course the thing is a great deal for both Sesame Workshop, Qualcomm, and smartphone/tablet-makers everywhere because in order to get this hot new toy you have to both buy the playset and a compatible Qualcomm-equipped smartphone or tablet.
But ponying up the likely $300+ USD cost of the system is for a good cause, they insist as the playset reportedly helps children build:
Grover drew slightly less enthusiasm from the audience for his promised upcoming electronic eggbeater. But can you blame him for trying?
All images © of Jason Mick and DailyTech LLC.
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RE: Electronics are not for children
1/11/2012 2:21:13 PM
I have kids and they don't need to interact with ME when I'm not available to interact, they have each other.
I don't think this is all that much better than sitting them in front of a TV, and it's definitely no better than "creating a virtual world" using educational software for a PC (much cheaper!).
Their list of educational benefits is pretty lame. It'll be a hot toy for parents that have money, but without free time to spend with their kids (that used to describe me!)
RE: Electronics are not for children
1/11/2012 3:03:05 PM
That's assuming you have more than one kid and that they are old enough to play with each other. (Think of the age group this Sesame Street targets)
I don't think anyone is claiming that this is something that your child should do exclusively, but I see no issues in letting my child have some fun with these kinds of apps/games.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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