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Toys That Mobilize: Past, Present and Future of Phygital Playful Technology

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Proceedings of the Future Technologies Conference (FTC) 2019 (FTC 2019)

Part of the book series: Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing ((AISC,volume 1070))

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Abstract

This exploratory paper focuses on the technological development of the toy medium with an interest in toys’ capacity to mobilize homo ludens, the playing human. By conducting an extensive literary review on the history and the present of mobile play objects, the study demonstrates how toys have developed from early moving and mechanical automata to playthings that move by themselves through in-built computerized components. The interest is two-fold: By analyzing the historical trajectory of mobile toys, the authors highlight the role of both toys and their players as participants in technologically mediated, phygital play. This hybrid form of playing combines the physicality of playthings with both mechanical and digital features. The results of the review show how toys—character toys in particular—have transformed from entertaining, self-moving spectacles to educational machines that mobilize the player both physically and geographically. Based on the results of the literary review, the authors suggest a continuum that visualizes the development of the types of toys that afford mobility in play of the past, present, and future. The paper concludes with the observation that phygital, playful technologies, such as character toys, have the capacity to influence human well-being in its various dimensions. By making them mobile, toys as a medium invite engagement with phygital playful technologies to enhance physical, cognitive, and social well-being.

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Correspondence to Pirita Ihamäki .

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Heljakka, K., Ihamäki, P. (2020). Toys That Mobilize: Past, Present and Future of Phygital Playful Technology. In: Arai, K., Bhatia, R., Kapoor, S. (eds) Proceedings of the Future Technologies Conference (FTC) 2019. FTC 2019. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 1070. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-32523-7_46

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