Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nabaztag - a toy with a future.

Nabaztag is a plastic box shaped like a rabbit, with pastel ears and facial features akin to Hello Kitty, it has a few flashing lights, a rudimentary speaker, one button and a name derived from the Armenian word for rabbit.

The device's key characteristic is permanent wireless connectivity to the Internet via a Wi-Fi network, preferably one that stretches across the entire city in which it is located.

For now, Nabaztag is a basic communications device that uses lights, sounds and movements of its ears to discreetly pass on messages to anyone nearby. Sounds can include MP3 files of music, voice or noises, and any combinations of colored lights and patterns can be used to signal specific information. It costs $115, plus a $5.00 monthly subscription fee.

It may seem trite, but this is just the beginning for connected blogjects. Says John Gage, chief researcher at Sun Microsystems,
''A device like this changes the actual environment of the recipient, kind of like a bouquet of flowers. Once they get enough of them out there, I would love to see a global piece of installation art created by moving all their ears at once.

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