Playful Books

No, you’re not seeing things. The color of the lights in the room are changing each time you turn a page in a book - just one of the magical, high-tech secrets the new Playful Books are hiding.

How does it work? You put an iPhone 5 or 5s into a slot, load the book’s corresponding app, and that’s when a regular-looking cardboard kids book springs to life with a whole bunch of high tech features and sound effects on each page. When the book instructs you to knock, you have to actually knock to advance the story.

The color-changing lights are Philips Hue LEDs that will set the mood depending on which page you are on. Right now, there are two Playful Books for sale, “Have You Seen My Crayons?” and “Knock Knock Knock,” both for $24. Developers are working on a completely blank version for you to create your own story - not only add pictures and words, but also easily program whatever interactive features you’d like to be a part of it.


While it may look like someone playing the violin while flipping through digital music sheets, it is much more than that. It is a system called Jamit. There is a sensor on the bridge of the violin and another at the end of the bow. The reason for those sensors: so that the mobile app can not only hear how well you’re playing the notes, but so it can also know exactly how you’re playing them - the position of your hands and arms – working just like a human teacher would, critiquing both your style and your posture.

The app offers to teach lessons or complete songs. Right now, Jamit is still a project. Developers say they are currently testing it to make sure it works as well as they hope. The results of those tests will determine whether they eventually put it on sale.