Exploring and mapping interactivity with digital toy technology (known as CACHET: Children and electronic toys)

The electronic toys referred to in the name CACHET were 'smart' toys with which children could interact and obtain a response.

The toys used in this study were Microsoft Actimates (Arthur and DW) and could be played with in two ways. First, as freestanding soft toys that can move, speak and respond to the child's touch. Second, by communicating with a PC by means of a radio transmitter in a unit that sent information between the toy and the computer (so no cables were required). This meant the toy can be used in conjunction with compatible educational games software designed to encourage basic language and number skills. In this scenario, the toy sat next to the child in front of the computer and commented on the child's interactions, making suggestions and offering encouragement. The main aim of the project was to explore how children play and interact with these toys in a range of settings.

A report based on this study is available here.

A short article on interface, interactivty and smart toys is also available here

Research areas
Children & Technology
Research team

Prof. Lydia Plowman (PI) and Prof. Rosemary Luckin (co-investigator, now London Knowledge Lab) with Sharon Airey and Dr Daniel Connolly. 


EPSRC/ESRC PACCIT (People at the Centre of Communication and Information Technology) programme, 2001-2002.