Seedling's Parker teddy bear uses AR to teach kids caregiving

Your teddy bear doesn't need to be a (sometimes freaky) robot to be cool and hi-tech. It just needs an iPad or an iPhone. And maybe some imagination. Well, actually, you and your kid will need those if you want to fully experience what Parker has a to offer. A traditional teddy bear toy in all but one sense, Seedling wants kids to enjoy a timeless classic toy while sprinkling some digital wizardry using the magic of augmented reality.

No electronics, no batteries, no Wi-Fi, no Bluetooth or even NFC. Parker is "all plush and fluff". The only thing that sets Parker apart is the odd pattern on its tummy. As you might have guessed by now, that's the marker used by the accompanying iOS app to bring parker to life. Digitally only, of course (thank goodness).

In other words, all the tech stuff can only be experienced with an iPhone or iPad in hand, which pretty much means you'll be supervising your child when playing with Parker in AR mode. The iOS app overlays images and animations like Parker's bones and internal organs (in a child-friendly way) or a garden that grows beside it.

The point of Parker is to help teach a child empathy and responsibility while also introducing them into the digital lifestyle. They take care of Parker when it's sick or play games with it to keep it happy. Parker even comes with a toy medical set so kids can play out their Doc McStuffins dreams.

Seedling presents Parker as a way to introduce kids to technology without going overboard with expensive robotics and complicated AI. It is a child's baby step, no pun intended, into the world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). Parker is available exclusively from Apple, online or retail stores in select countries, for $59.95.

SOURCE: Seedling