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Gadget Lab

Twoddler Toy Lets Toddlers Tweet


As if Twitter weren’t already full of utterly bland, mindless codswallop, researchers from Hasselt University in Belgium are about to add the random, idiotic bleatings of a baby to the stream of nonsense. Worse, the baby won’t even know it is broadcasting its brainless, repetitive activities to the world.

Twoddler is a modified Fisher Price activity center, the kind that toddlers have tweaked and poked for what seems like generations. The difference is that this one has its activities monitored by a computer and the activities are translated into Tweets. The example uses a baby called Yorin, and if he spends, say, a few minutes playing with a picture of his mother, this Tweet will be forced on the world: “@mommy_yorin Yorin misses mommy and looks forward playing with her this evening”. Further, if he annoyingly bangs on the bell, over and over, for far too long, the computer will translate this to say “Yorin is showing off his music skills with a new tune”.

The Twoddler uses sensors hooked up to an Arduino circuit and sends the information via the wireless ZigBee protocol to a nearby computer. This is where the signals are converted into human-readable (or at least parent-readable) “words” and sent off to the web using the Twitter API.

We imagine that these incessant, repetitive Tweets will swiftly become as annoying as the behavior which triggers them, negating the whole point of sending Yorin off to the day-care center. There is one advantage to Twoddler over having an actual toddler in the room with you. It may be a bit of a moral conundrum, but at least mom always has the option to un-follow her offspring.

Twoddler Project [Hasselt University via Mashable]