Sara Johansson, a researcher for the Touch RFID project at the Oslo School for Architecture and Design, has developed a new plush dog toy designed especially for visually impaired children.
Sniff looks like your average stuffed animal, but it comes with an RFID sensor in its muzzle that can interact with various RFID enabled accessories, which include stickers, badges and plastic pebbles. When Sniff comes into contact with these, he can do a number of things, like play a snippet of a song or bark and growl.
Sniff also comes with “Emotion Stickers” and “Behavior Badges” that can be placed anywhere around the house and prompt Sniff to perform several behavioral expressions like sneezing, barking, howling and grunting.
Johansson created Sniff out of the idea that play is essential for the proper psychological, physiological and social development of children. Because visually impaired children are often limited in the ways they can engage in play with seeing children, new toys must be developed that do not rely heavily on the visual dimension. Sniff provides a big step in the right direction.
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