Jackrabbit experiments with interactive toys and beacons at TedX Youth Austin

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Jackrabbit Mobile is an Austin-based software agency, focused on exploring new ways of interaction between humans and machines. One of their latest experiments involved designing interactive toys that could not only entertain but also educate children. To make the toys smarter, Jackrabbit decided to use Estimote Beacons and deployed them at TedX Youth Austin xLabs.

Most toys allow little interaction. Jackrabbit wanted to change that and went with a combination of smartphone and smartwatch as a key to unlocking children imagination. They set up test environment, where kids could play with a variety of toys and take part in stories narrated via simple interactions with a phone and an Android Wear watch.

We all know that attention span of a child. Jackrabbit had to make the content immersive to achieve their goal of educating and entertaining at the same time. Especially, that they were trying to turn mundane tasks, like baking, into story-driven adventures. So, what better way to do that than context?

Jackrabbit integrated Estimote SDK into their experimental apps and installed beacons across TedX Youth Austin xLabs, where hundreds of children coul play and learn with the experimental toys.

We used the Estimote Beacons along with an Android phone and Android Wear device. We utilized the Estimote SDK to look for beacons while the user was using a traditional Android app or even when they only ran the app from an Android Wear device by itself.

The SDK worked well for us, as we were able to look for multiple beacons while the user was interacting with the app. We tried other beacons and their SDKs, but found the quality to be lacking. Estimote’s straightforward SDK let us focus on the individual challenges of our use case. said Sam Harris, Lead Android Developer at Jackrabbit Mobile.

Want to find out more about beacons in education? Learn how Somerset county changed its libraries with Estimote Beacons and how Xplor helps parents communicate with childcare staff.

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