iour of their own. The smartphone bit is what I find particularly interesting.
Xeno is pretty disgusting. It’s been designed around the idea of what the monster living under children’s beds would look like. Xeno asks you to play games with him, needs attention and interacts with other Xenos in his vicinity. There is also an app available for iOS and Android that lets you interact with Xeno and play games from your phone or tablet.
Essentially Xeno is like a Tamagotchi – an electronic pet that you must take care of. This seems to be why children love it so much. The robot also has a very expressive face. It lifts its eyebrows when surprised, waggles its ears and shakes around when tickled or poked. Digital eyes move around and make other expressions. It’s just lifelike enough that children become obsessed with it. The app enables you to ‘bath’ Xeno or feed him and play some preprogrammed games. When you do something to Xeno in the app, he responds with gestures and exclamations in the real world. Xeno has a range of emotions and, according to the manufacturers, over 50 eye expressions and 80 tailor-made sounds. He also dances to music. So. There’s that.
The interesting trend here is that the smartphone is at the heart of products like Xeno, which are becoming peripheral. Increasingly, all the gadgets we buy – including our cars – are being hooked up to our smartphones. The same is true of kids’ toys. The interesting thing about smartphones is what they’re doing to the rest of our lives.