Instead of using a braille writer to create bumps on paper that spell out words, kids with a set of Braille Bricks can spell them out on a baseplate, which also means they can easily make corrections if they’ve made a spelling mistake. And the Braille Bricks can be stacked and assembled to build other objects, so they double as a genuine toy.
That’s where Hackaball comes in. The creation of London-based “innovation accelerator” Made by Many, Hackaball is a durable, croquet-ball-sized sphere that kids can program via iPad to respond with light, sound, and vibration. Kids are invited to use the ball’s functionality to create their own games and use cases (imagine the cathartic wonders of an alarm clock that you can turn off by throwing it against a wall).
Beyond robotic pets and flying, buzzing or remote-controlled gadgets, many of the trends in today’s toy industry hint at a future of playthings that put parents’ minds at ease that their children are actually learning something valuable during recess.
If there was any doubt that video games that allow kids to bring their physical toys into the actual game were more than just a fad, Lego and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are joining the likes of Nintendo’s amiibo, Disney’s Infinity, and Spin Master’s Sick Bricks with its new Lego Dimensions game for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii U.