THE Internet of Things (IoT) promises to change the way we live, work and learn. The giant network of smart objects controlled by software, and ultimately people, paves the way for cutting-edge smart homes, connected cars and a wealth of wearable devices.
This world built on technology is also a market with the potential to be worth $1.7 trillion (£1.4 trillion) by 2020.
With this in mind, Made by Many, a London-based digital product innovation consultancy that has worked with ITV, the V&A and Skype, set out to discover the skills needed to make products for the IoT which is growing in step with the number of mobile devices. It came up with one that would also teach children the skills to control and respond to the IoT: Hackaball, a computer you can throw.
Encased in silicone rubber, the ball is packed with sensors and changes colour and makes noises when thrown or dropped. It connects to an app for iPad, iPhone or Mac so that children aged six to 12 can programme and personalise it with their own games. This helps them form the basic skills to make a connected device do what they want.
“Understanding how to talk to computers and connected devices, and get them to do what you need, is a core fluency for all children growing up today. Hackaball introduces technology to children in a fresh way that was co-designed by children themselves. It’s more than a toy,” says Tim Malbon, Made by Many founder.
“We see Hackaball as a revolutionary product – a toy that prepares children for the connected age whilst nudging them towards healthier,…