Tickle me technology

Back in 1996 Tyco introduced the first Tickle Me Elmo…needless to say the toy was a huge success selling out almost instantly.  For those of you not familiar with this toy (who are you by the way?) the Elmo doll burst out into infectious laughter when you ‘tickled’ him (basically squeezed his belly or hands).  His giggle was pretty cute and could easily have grown adults in stitches (or maybe that was just me).  They came out with different versions over the years and for Christmas in 2001 I got one of the Surprise Edition Elmo’s (don’t do the math, suffice it to say I was not a kid when i got it but his laugh cracked me up)

Anyway the amazing thing about the Surprise edition was that there was some fancy Tickle timer in there and if you Tickled Elmo on  January 9th 2002 you would get a Surprise…for some it was that they had won a prize but for everyone else he said a fancy little rhyme talking about how you have tickled his belly, his hands and toes and the surprise now is that you can tickle his nose.  Basically there was another tickle point in his nose that when you tickled him he did a dance.  I loved this ‘time release technology’  and even tried to sell it into a client we were working with as we thought it would be a great promotional tool to get everyone to push a button on a trinket on a certain day to see if they won!!  Unfortunately client didn’t go for it 😦

Anyway today a new Elmo has been released (and already sold out).  He’s called Elmo Live and with that name I was thinking that it must link wirelessly to the Internet or have some video camera in it..something to further push toy technology as they seemingly have done in the past.  I have searched for some info on new Elmo Live and there isn’t much…apparently the ‘Live’ refers to the fact that he now moves around more, shaking his head, crossing his legs and having his mouth move exactly when he speaks…to make him more life like. …or as life like as a red puppet monster can be.

I am a little disappointed as one of the quotes on the website says:

 “Elmo Live is way too innovative and exciting to keep secret!” he says. “The level of technology and reality is industry changing to be sure, but even as amazing and awe-inspiring as that may be to adults and even as that may create a new standard for interactive plush…”

I guess moving around like that is pretty innovative but for £59.99 I want MORE…I want wireless connections, USB hubs in his bum, GPS triangulation and a bluetooth connection.  I want him to hook up with my GPS navigation and give me directions in his cute little Elmo voice, I want him to bluetooth to my Blackberry and read me my emails.

Then I rember one thing…he is a toy for pre-schoolers, not almost 30 year old computer nerds like me.  Damn it.

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