The IFTF Blog
Seven Transformations for Children at Play
IFTF has been studying smart machines and robotics for over 30 years. And all the way across the world the Lego Group first introduced its Mindstorms line of robotics products over fifteen years ago. Looking back, it is hard not to be impressed at the ways that Lego and the toys aspired to bring robotics into the hands of youth in the home in unintimidating ways. In fact to highlight this in mid-2010, we brought the Lego Group into our Technology Horizons Robot Renaissance: The Future of Human-Machine Interaction research project as lead innovators and experts. A deep connection was formed between our work and theirs, so we were thrilled when they asked IFTF to conduct a report on technology and the future of kids at play. The project, led by my colleague Lyn Jeffery who was instrumental in envisioning our 2011 work on The Magic of Kids' Tech, asked us to explore the major shifts in the nature of play that have taken hold over those last 15 years.
The result is a report just made public today by the Lego Group at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas entitled, Transformative Changes for Children at Play. The report is being presented as an introduction for Mindstorms EV3, the third generation of the popular toy. The complete list of these trends is summarized in this infographic detailing the report's high-level findings.
Later this week, I will be participating in a panel further exploring this research as part of the session on "The Transformation of Play: How 15 Years of "Smart Toys" has Changed Children's Play" at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV.
While we are used to tracking rapid change, it is a bit stunning to be reminded how quickly toys have moved toward digitization, with sophisticated electronics and smart devices available to ever younger demographics. Indeed, this topic also emerged as one of the central drivers in our recent Magic of KidsTech project also exploring aspects of the future of play and learning.
Looking forward to continuing to build on an extremely interesting conversation!