HUMANISING TECHNOLOGY IN TOY DESIGN
Most of the innovation that we see in the world today is Technology-led. When we think of Technology – the most prominent word that surfaces is “Efficiency”. But the issue in recent times is the fear that this efficiency-driven Technology might scale to the point of outgrowing Human abilities and qualities. Over time, technology might start changing our DNA, our behaviour and “domesticate humans” completely. Therefore, the need of the hour is to take a step towards humanising technology. There seems to be an urgent need to blend the physical and digital mediums.
Humanising Technology refers to creating New Models of Design that are more balanced. It means to create a bi-directional relationship between Technology and the User and making machines express in a more human language.
“Technology is just a means to enable the needs of human beings”.
Technology is now embedded in children’s lives (through tablets and smartphones) and we need to be aware of how it affects the way that children play, how they learn and develop critical skills through play? We need technology that is more integrated, more human and more intuitive for children to have a healthy relationship with Technology.
SmartKit, designed by Matthieu Muller is an example of Technology combined with layers of playfulness and fun. It was developed by Muller while studying at the Royal College of Art‘s MA Design Products programme, during which he answered a brief set by OPPO London Design Centre – the design hub of global technology company OPPO.
Smartkit is a set of three children’s toys to be used in conjunction with smartphones. It is developed to add value to a child’s experience with technology by “combining the physical and the digital world”. The toys, which include a car, plane and spaceship, are all made from cardboard and are animated using the features of the smartphone. This includes its speakers, display, and flash, all of which can be controlled by the children via an app on the smartphone in use.
Muller has successfully been able to put children at the centre of the Design and create a toy that promises to have a positive effect on children’s developmentally relevant behaviour. This creation of a pleasurable interaction between the Little Humans and Technology can be seen as a step towards humanising technology.