The toys of the 21st century have become far more than playthings. The advent of modern technology has turned children’s games into digitized educational opportunities, and Leka is the latest to emerge on the scene. Today, the robotic smart toy company launched an Indiegogo campaign to develop a new toy for children with developmental orders, seeking to change the way youngsters learn, play, and progress in our tech-forward age.
“Our mission is to help exceptional children live exceptional lives by reducing the learning inequalities that many children with different developmental disorders currently deal with,” said Ladislas de Toldi, the firm’s co-founder and CEO. “While there has been a lot of innovation regarding smart toys that can aid in cognitive development, none of these toys are available for public use, and cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. With Leka, there is finally a resource for parents who want to complement existing therapies and further foster family harmony between children and their parents, siblings, and grandparents through play both at school and in-home.”
Starting at the pre-order price of $390, the Leka is more than a toy — its creators claim that this little robot has the capacity to become a child’s companion and friend. Because robots tend to be predictable in their actions, they’re the perfect playmate for children with developmental disorders, making their human counterparts feel safe and secure. And by playing educational games with children, Leka can foster a sense of social engagement, which developers hope will lead to greater, more efficient progress.
Leka works by way of a companion app (both iOS and Android are supported) and is controlled via Bluetooth. Users can either manually control Leka’s movements and actions or program Leka to act autonomously through the app. Currently, there are seven educational activities planned for the smart robot: Picture Bingo, Hide & Go Leka, Traveling Leka, Remote Control Leka, Time-Timer, Alarm Clock, and Night Light. Each of these educational games is designed specifically with the target demographic in mind, aiding in early childhood development.
And because Leka includes a cloud-based Monitoring Platform, Leka’s sensors will be able to inform parents, therapists, and caregivers about each child’s progress. Leka will keep tabs on how children touch and manipulate the device, the time they spend on activities, and reaction time to instructions.
“What is so exciting about Leka is that it will allow for greater progress when children are not in a therapist’s care, especially with the use of the monitoring platform and the data it captures,” said Tiffany Plock, therapist at ABA Connect, an early intervention service provider for children with or at risk for autism. “Children with autism, for example, generally play best alone, and through Leka we can use it as an intermediary to teach through play while also tracking progress remotely. I see this tool as becoming instrumental in a child’s growth to allow the best of both worlds — therapy with professionals as well as in-home support.”
Check out more about Leka at its Indiegogo campaign page.