Bold statement! And how can that be? Fisher price is the company that gave us the Smart Fit (for all you parents who don’t want to feel guilty about the television your kids watch), the Soothe & Glow Seahorse (guaranteed not to be creepy!), and the Little Super Star Classical Stacker (for you parents who are secretly happy your child suffers from autism).
Here’s how: the Fisher Price Activity Center — reads like Christian dogma! — has an application that posts your kid’s thoughts (or what it imagines are your kids thoughts) to so-called Twoddler! It’s Twitter for kids! Really young kids. Like, your-kids-can-barely-talk-and-aren’t-toilet-trained young.
And now they have a prototype gadget for [Twittering] — the Twoddler, a tricked-out Fisher Price Activity Center with pictures of family members and friends attached and an Arduino board inside.
When a child presses a certain picture for a select amount of time, software captures sensor data from the activity center and selects and sends a predefined text related to that data.
For example, when Bobby plays with Mom’s picture for more than three minutes, a Twitter message will post to Bobby’s personal Twitter account saying, “@mommy_bobby Bobby misses mommy and looks forward playing with her this evening” (or as the messages get more refined and personalized: “@mommy_bobby Bobby is having a temper tantrum and wants mommy home now.”
Or maybe he’s just pushing the button because it’s shiny. Who knows? Kids are stupid. And this dumb invention is just what self-absorbed Upper West Side and Park Slope parents need: a reason to run home to take care of their self-absorbed children. My God. It’s as if commerce is evil.
Yeah, there’s more.
Twittering toddlers can also communicate with their social-networking peers by pushing buttons that generate effects, such as colored, blinking lights, on their friends’ Twoddlers (a scenario that could easily turn day-care into a disco). Twoddler is connected to the Internet and to other activity centers using the home area networking standard ZigBee.
So the big brains behind this fiasco are interpreting your child’s thoughts, and they also think these twinks (read: children) want to communicate with their friends remotely. Uh-huh. That’s something only an adult who’s lost all perspective of everything would think. Oh, and screw you, ZigBee.
Twoddler emerged from a course on mobile and pervasive computing at Belgium’s Hasselt University. Earlier this year, Twoddler beat out around 40 submissions for the top prize at the 09 Innovative and Creative Applications competition, where judges called it a “good, well-implemented idea, with a lot of potential that allows people/children that are not capable of verbal communication to communicate through an inventive combination of hardware and software.”
Wow. Someone should revoke Hasselt’s accreditation. Step one: tell any academic review board it’s located in Belgium. Step two: Show them the goddamn Twoddler.
Hey, genius judges: You know why children can’t communicate? It’s not because they can’t speak or need some other form of communication. It’s because they can’t communicate. They’re learning and developing, goddamn it! Showing them how to use a shitty tool like Twitter — which was designed for tards, in case you didn’t know — is going to make them think Twitter is an acceptable form of communication. It’s not! It’s for lazy fucktards and only occasionally geniuses.
But there is good news.
Twoddler is just a prototype for now, so don’t expect to get an endless stream of tweets from your overexcited 3-year-old just yet.
Yeah. He’ll have to pee his pants over something else. Like not being able to control his bladder, something common to many three-year-olds.