Story Labs Research: Near Future Toys & Hacking Ruxpin

Over the last week we’ve been researching on the subject of our hypothesis about APIs in children’s stuffed animal toys. The trends of interactive customizable talking toys are well established, with Teddy Ruxpin blazing the trail over 20 years ago with his analog cassette-tape system. Geofencing may add a strange twist, with the current consumer geofencing applications in surveillance, logistics and tracking – precious little to do with toys. We enjoy the experiment of combining these technologies in the premise of our design fiction to see what creative result emerges.

Meanwhile our friends from the Philter Factory have been on a parallel thread, investigating the ambiguous lives of Skype chatbots on Twitter in the Philter Phactory Bar; a live radio speakeasy of the tiny web run by The Landlord (@lndlrd) – incorporating Github, Skype, Twitter and Teddy Ruxpin. The hacking experiments from Bar Phellow @shardcore on Mr. Ruxpin are a vision of a near-future of troublemaking toys with only slightly sinister overtones

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It’s encouraging to see parallel developments and trains of thought converge on these subjects and we’re cheering for the Phactory Phellows “Voices of the Tiny Web” SXSW panel proposition. You can vote to bring these chaps to Austin but you can also see them discuss the future of infomorphs and the story of the Philter Phactory Bar next week at Campus Party Berlin!

Together we can make the road a safer place

badmouth plus – a design fiction
Hypothesis: Cars will have voice-controlled augmented reality apps.

A driver calmly reviews an archive of his own foul-mouthed outbursts to complete the training program of his voice-controlled augmented reality app for tracking aggressive drivers. Language NSFW.
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KS12 Story Labs: Current Hypotheses


Over the course of the next several weeks we’ll be testing out a number of assumptions and ideas as part of KS12 Story Labs. At the present moment some of the hypotheses for the near futures we can imagine include:

Cars will have voice-controlled augmented reality apps.
Children’s stuffed animal toys will come with APIs.
Wills will include passwords to websites.
Telepathic technologies will transmit wirelessly
Robots will perform talent management services.

It’s possible that we won’t act on all of these ideas, and even the ideas we decide to execute will undoubtedly mutate and evolve. Nonetheless we thought it might be interesting to share the directions we’re heading.

Do you have any hypotheses you think we should test?