Spielwarenmesse: Perfect couple: Wooden toys meet technology

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Mädchen spielt mit Laptop und Holzbauklötze


Perfect couple: Wooden toys meet technology

from Maria Costa

Technology is converting traditional wooden toys into updated innovative products that are appealing for both children and adults. With original designs and unique functionalities, the market is seeing great new wooden toys with lot to offer to the current generation of families.

Tradition and innovation combining wood and technology

Matoi: Imagno
Imagno by Matoi

The touch, look and warmth of a wooden toy are features that many parents actually value in toys in a world with plastic as the predominant material. Wood is a traditional material, one of the first ones used in the design of toys. However, there is room for innovation through technology. Actually, some of the most admirable products presented in the last Spielwarenmesse® were technological wooden toys.

For instance, Imagno by Matoi. The brand describes their products as “Digital Slow Toys”, two concepts that seem completely opposite but that in reality can complement very well. Their first toy, Imagno is a wooden building set with simple shaped pieces that contain magnets and sensors. Children build figures in a real, tangible world. With the app, they can program the figures to get acoustic feedbacks, songs or stories. This is a new way to enhance the classical game of building blocks.

New ways of playing, original designs

Sometimes the use of technology leads to innovation in the play and learning proposals.
A good example is Yibu, a product created by the renowned company Frog Design. The toy is presented as “a new learning platform that transforms screen time into a meaningful and physically active experience”. It has five crafted wooden pieces that, thanks to its embedded sensory technology, interact with the challenges presented on the screen. Even if the child is at home, it is active as it has to move the pieces, placing them in different situations. In the same time the child experiences how each of his actions influences the digital character.

Yibu by Frog Design

Another example is KIBI toys, a company developing “Sensory Educational Toys and Games for tablet”. Its first toy allows children to play in the real and the digital world using wooden pieces and a tablet. A playful experience that involves the user’s five senses as the wooden toy has different smells, textures, shapes and weights. For a surprising interaction, the physical pieces have augmented reality features that can be accessed through the screen.

Kibi Toys

There are, of course, other options to play outside in a screen-free play mode. Avakai by Vai Kai is made of wonderfully created wooden figures that communicate with musical notes and lights. They offer great possibilities to play outdoors with games such as hide & seek, as they have the property to sense the proximity of other figures-friends.

Most of these new technological toys also stand out for their original design. Although made with a long-established material, they are modern in their contemporary patterns, finishes and designs.

Wood and technology merge perfectly

There are not too many wooden technological toys out there yet, and most of them come from start-ups. This shows a great creative potential gap which all sorts of toy companies should consider to profit from by creating new toys. Creating toys that combine wood and technology opens a world of opportunities for companies looking to innovate in several areas. It means to deliver new ways of playing and learning in an updated contemporary approach.


Author of this article:

Maria Costa, AIJU

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