I was watching my son play with a LeapPad toy book.
It had a sensing pen to teach colors, letters, numbers, etc by tracing them in a book.
It had similar functionality to a book that I remember as a kid.
The one I remember from 20 years ago had a big molded plastic shell, electronically sensing stylus, etc. It was heavy and bulky.
The modern version is so simple and low cost.
Everything was enclosed within the pen itself. The pen had a camera at the tip and recognized images by reading micro-printed patterns on the page. It had a speaker at the end.
Presumably, the pen was capable of working with any printed matter.
Maybe it would even expand to allow user-generated content, printed from a home printer?
This is real innovation in the toy space, leveraging modern image recognition and 2D barcode reading technology to teach kids basic skills.
From a business perspective, it's a great way to provide a flexible learning platform that can grow and change with the kids, with low-cost supplement material (ink on paper)
The supplement material is low cost, which means high profit. Higher profits mean that there's room in the budget to partner with popular brands (licensing agreements to increase sales).
It's also a great example of cost-savings in production: The reduced size of the molded plastic housings means low-cost tools/molds.
I see product design innovation everywhere.
Thanks for all your thoughts and encouraging feedback.
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