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Smartivity: These toys have designs on you

Tushar Amin

Tushar Amin  

The startup creates toys that bridge the virtual and the physical world and inculcate design thinking in children and adults

For Tushar Amin, it was just another birthday party of his nephew, where children were so excited to unwrap the gifts and see what toys were in store for them. But once they did that and explored the toys for a few minutes, they were back to discussing the latest mobile games in vogue. That got Tushar thinking about the money spent on toys and how little attention they got from the children. This was the precursor to him amd his friends Ashwini Kumar, Rajat (whose family imports toys made in China) and Apoorv Gupta creating toys that engage both parents and children. Gradually, their toys won the attention of retailers, and parents came back to them to understand what the child could learn out of it. It was time toys benefited from a broader perspective and that is precisely why Smartivity was born.

“We realised there's a huge gap in the market of toys that ensure practical understanding of subjects and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) concepts. The approach wasn't meant to be pedagogical, it is meant to be fun, ” says Tushar. Smartivity is now a startup that helps build a bridge between the digital and physical world. The approach here was to make learning feel sub-conscious. He adds, “The desire wasn't to create toys alone. All of us are engineers, but we couldn't implement all our ideas due to material restrictions. Then we began using recycled wood for toys.”

“While we have physical DIY toys and also ones that relate to augmented reality, kids can’t entirely be isolated from social media.”

Smartivity: These toys have designs on you

Take for instance a colouring activity, where a child colours a particular object. An in-house AR app developed by Smartivity can be accessed by a parent, where he/she can scan the coloured image which would later transform into a 3D model-like object that the child could interact with, virtually. Similar attempts have also been done with jigsaw puzzles, geo-mapping technologies as well. “With this virtual-real world connection in place, there's enough motivation to colour. Like multiplication is taught by placing various positions on the map. As they learn this in school, they comprehend this better.”

Smartivity: These toys have designs on you

Being a good student and scoring marks helped Tushar little, so his personal experience enhanced the design thinking of the entire initiative. “This helps a student explore. The aim is to benefit the child in the long run. The critical part of our toys is the design thinking.” And you'd be mistaken to think that these toys are meant for children alone. Tushar adds, “A lot of corporate companies are using toys to inculcate employee well-being. The bosses are cooler and now look at the holistic mental setup of an employee.”

These toys are now also being exported to US, Europe and Australia as well. “Our aim is to create contributors and shapers of the future,” Tushar signs off.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 10:08:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/schools/smartivity-these-toys-have-designs-on-you/article22404823.ece

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