Toybots Woozees, which launched at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco today, is a platform toy makers can use to build Internet connectivity and GPS tracking into their products. For example, an enabled teddy bear can use a built-in accelerometer to tell when you give it a hug, or a talking Elmo could be remotely updated with fresh sayings.
You can “tickle” a toy online and it will giggle in the real world. A grandmother can record a story that the toy can read to her grandchild hundreds of miles away. The toys can be connected to a social network, where you can learn what your friends are doing with other toys. The platform involves hardware that gives a toy GPS, a 3G connection and touch sensors on the head, neck and back.
Toybots says it’s not planning to manufacture toys — it’s a software platform for other toy makers. The company is trying to market it to the developer community to build all sorts of applications and to license the technology out to big brands like Mattel.
George Zachary, Charles River Ventures: A great idea. Porn business could take off with such a technology.
Jason Hirschhorn, chief product officer at MySpace: Wonders about how they’ll limit developers working on the platform. Imagines it could be perfect for a “Chucky” doll (like the serial killer from the horror film series).
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