Conference paper

Puppeteer: De-centralized platform for connected-yet-autonomous educational toys

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The ubiquity of toys viz-a-viz children and their close relationship have been leveraged by academics and industry alike to provide applications and services through these toys. Many domains such as healthcare, medical intervention, entertainment, education have all benefited from smart toys which could sense their context and/or perform actuation tasks such as conversations, support etc. However, state-of-the-art toy systems lack connected-yet-autonomous behavior and hence are unable to perform coordinated tasks which could facilitate complex interactions especially in education. Few such activities that require complex multi-toy coordination and interaction are teaching social skills such as social etiquettes, morals and group conversations; as well as cognitive skills such as counting, pattern identification, grouping etc. This paper is a first effort towards generating interest and discussion around this interesting area of using multiple connected toys for learning. In this paper, we propose Puppeteer, a decentralized orchestrator platform to enable coordinated yet autonomous multi-toy behavior which provides seamless coordination between toys, and a declarative mechanism to author and adapt learning scenarios for enactment. We evaluate this system through simulations and real-world prototype experiments, and report its performance.