Monster

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY -

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.

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