Opportunity: Internet of Toys Technical Intern

30 Oct 2018
Andrew Manches image


Job Purpose:

This post focuses on partner building and market research for a novel early learning technology design: The Magic Cloud. The Magic Cloud is an Internet of Things platform linking soft toys to digital animations. Key to this project is building partnerships with local education focused organisations, such as Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Zoo, or Glasgow Science Centre.

The role requires both technical, communication, and organisational aspects. The technical responsibilities are to ensure that a current Magic Cloud wireless prototype functions reliably during presentations and market evaluation with adults and children in the field (e.g. at the Zoo shop). The Magic Cloud consists of an RFID reader (Pycom Board; Bluetooth) hidden inside a soft cushion paired with an iPad (IoS).

The communication responsibilities involve communicating with partners, parents and children (3-8yrs) to capture feedback about the Magic Cloud. Organisational skills are important to ensure timelines are kept. Consequently, this role suits a student with the appropriate technical skills, who has interest/experience in user studies with children. Innovative thinking is encouraged and an interest in entrepreneurship is welcomed, where there are possibilities of further involvement with the start-up company. Interest in publishing work from this project is welcomed.

The role will involve:

- Resolve any technical difficulties of the Magic Cloud prototype (both hardware (RFID/Bluetooth) and software (iOS)).

- Test robustness of Magic Cloud using different toys and media, accounting for young children’s variety of interaction.

- Work closely with Andrew Manches to arrange meetings and field  demonstrations of Magic Cloud with different partners (e.g. Edinburgh Zoo).

- Work alongside Andrew Manches in demonstrating the Magic Cloud with children in the field, supporting any technical challenges if they arise.

- Capture and summarise (in writing) user feedback (parents and children).

- Contribute innovative thinking for how the Magic Cloud design can be developed.

- Contribute where appropriate to writing up user studies for publication.


Person Specification


- Student in related field (e.g. Engineering, Design Informatics, Informatics).

- Knowledge of off the shelf electronic boards, especially Pycom.

- Experience of programming IoS.

- Knowledge of Bluetooth standards would be a requirement. The current Magic Cloud project is dependent on successful Bluetooth communication between Apple ecosystem and Bluetooth enabled (off-the shelf) electronic boards. An input on the board connects a USB RFID reader.

- Strong organisational skills.


- Knowledge and experience of app development.

- Broader knowledge and experience of RFID/NFC.

- Knowledge of micropython and/or ability use relevant development framework e.g. C.

- Experience in user studies, in particular, with children (especially <8 years).

- Excellent written communication skills.

- Knowledge of Data models, especially in relation to Internet of Things.

- Interest in innovative technologies for children and / or entrepreneurship.


This opportunity is for 20 days (flexible working) at UoE Grade 5.

Please email a.manches@ed.ac.uk with any questions about this role.  Applications can be made through https://mycareerhub.ed.ac.uk/students/jobs/detail/557889/internet-of-to…

Application deadline: 5pm on Monday 12th November.