Just when you thought the playground swing was one of the last sanctuaries for non-electronic child's play, this low-tech treasure is about to get an electronic makeover.
It seems like every child's toy has an electronic twist these days. Heck, you even get a programmable robotics controller for your Lego set if you want. So I guess it was inevitable that high-tech would eventually hit the playground.
The Son-X Octavia is a solar powered speaker that mounts on the cables holding the swing up, and plays sounds depending on how the swing is moving. Basically it provides applause that gets louder as you go higher, making your kid feel like they're performing to an audience. It has three sound profiles called 'applause' 'concert' and 'beat,' but it's not immediately clear what the differences are.
It seems like these days kids expect recognition for everything they do, which is why we give every kid on the baseball team a trophy no matter how lousy the team was. The Son-X seems to be an extension of that type of thinking, rewarding kids for doing everyday things. Personally, if I were swinging, the last thing I would want is some speaker blaring at me.
Currently, Son-X has distribution in Europe and Asia, but not the USA. At about $625 a pop, they are clearly aiming at commercial users like municipalities and schools, rather than something you would put on your backyard play-set. I say thank goodness.