Now, though, there are some new kids on the blocks. There’s a Danish-led project on Kickstarter right now called playDXTR. They describe their interactive bricks as “the world’s smartest building blocks.”
That’s a pretty strong claim, but one this small innovative, multi-nationality team is happy to back up with strong evidence.
playDXTR are set of tactile, visually appealing, building blocks that can be assembled in a variety of ways, much like blocks have since they were simple rocks in the dirt. At playDXTR’s heart, however, beats something special. Something that brings the lowly building block right into the 21st Century.
It would be impressive enough if playDXTR could only interact with tablet-based apps to make building and puzzle challenges for your children, but they can do even more than that. These blocks take intelligent learning one step further.
The technology behind the playDXTR blocks closes the loop from adult to child and back to adult again. They feedback information to a child’s parent or caregiver about how the child is developing. They can then suggest areas that need bolstering and activities that will do just that.
The implications of that makes you stop and ponder for a while. It makes the idea of “Learning Through Play” measurable.
The playDXTR Kickstarter is raising funds to build beta versions of the bricks. This exciting technology is in its embryonic phase and this is your chance to help bring it to life. In addition to play-level rewards, which will give you early access to the blocks and their software, there are also developer-level pledges. These will allow you to work with the software as well as the playDXTR hardware. Pledging at the highest level might even take you to the original Legoland in Billund, Denmark.
As the Internet of Things becomes increasingly prevalent, so do connected toys. Feedback from them about how our children are playing is going to become a phenomenon, particularly for GeekParents. playDXTR blocks seem like a simple, elegant, and scaleable design for an interactive toy, and their possibilities feel boundless. This is an excellent (though not cheap) opportunity to be involved at the beginning of the next step of toy evolution.
I’m fascinated to see how playDXTR progresses, and I hope it reaches its funding target. If you have the funds to back it, I imagine it’s worth a shot. The Danes have a good track record when it comes building toys with bricks.
The playDXTR Kickstarter is up and running now. New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer. You can also read CEO and co-founder of DXTR Tactile Kenneth Madsen’s passionate blog post about embracing play, here.