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I may meander but I'm 'exploring', not lost

Dec 12, 2017

NBlog December 11 - things in Santa's sack

What's hot in toyland this Christmas?

Way back when I was a kid, shortly after the big bang, it was Meccano and Lego for me. I still value the mechanical skills I learnt way back then. Give me a box of thin metal strips full of holes, a plentiful supply of tiny nuts and bolts, and some nobbly plastic bricks, and I'll build you an extraordinary space station complete with spinning artificial gravity module. Or I might just chew them.

Today's toys supplement the child's imagination with the software developers'. There are apps for everything, running on diminutive devices more powerful than those fridge-sized beige boxes I tended for a hundred odd scientists (some very odd) in my first real job.

Writing about tech toys in the shops this Christmas, Stuart Miles says:
"For many, the days of just building a spaceship out of Lego or playing a game of Monopoly are long gone. Today, kids want interactive tech toys that are powered by an app or that connect to the internet. They want animals that learn and grow as you play with them, or robots that will answer back."
Some toys are autonomous while others are networked - they are things.  Microphones and cameras are often built-in for interaction, and we've already seen a few news reports about them being used for snooping on families.  All fairly innocuous, so far ... but what about those high-tech toys we grownups are buying each other this year?  Some will find their way into the office, the home office at least, where snooping has different implications.