Disney’s Playmation: Wearables for Imaginative Children

Think back to when you were a child. I’m sure there’s one point where you wanted to be something imaginative or seemingly impossible, right? It was probably something like a superhero soaring through the skies, an archaeologist fighting off evil crypt statues, or perhaps even an astronaut exploring the far reaches of deep space.

Whatever it was, your imagination was the driving force behind your experience.

Thanks to a new line of toys and wearable accessories from Disney and Hasbro, kids—and even some enterprising adults—can share a more realistic experience while playing. The new line of products, called Playmation, will encourage kids to be active as they immerse themselves in unique worlds.

How Does Playmation Encourage a More Active Lifestyle?

Thanks to video games, mobile devices, and tons of gadgetry, kids seem to be spending more time cooped up indoors in front of a screen. Disney and Hasbro aim to change this with Playmation, a line of toys and wearables that encourage a more active lifestyle—while still allowing kids to use the devices they love.

The first Playmation set will be available for pre-order starting on July 7 for $120, and will start shipping sometime in October. More sets will be available later, but the first is inspired by Marvel’s Avengers franchise. It includes a wrist-worn Iron Man Repulsor gauntlet, Captain America and Red Skull action figures, and a pair of Power Activator stands that bring the included characters to life.

It’s certainly interesting to see a new spin on modern wearables that’s different from the usual smartwatch or fitness tracker announcement. We’re beginning to see how specialized wearables can become, with just a little innovation and some of that patented Disney Magic®.

How Does the Avengers Playmation Set Work?

 The Power Activators communicate with the Repulsor gauntlets wirelessly; they also communicate with additional Playmation accessories, and with the wearer through the voice of JARVIS, Tony Stark’s AI assistant from the films.

The toys offer imaginary missions to kids, encouraging them to play out each experience in real life through a series of activities including running, jumping, dodging, and any number of additional physical actions that the Repulsor can detect.

When multiple sets are involved, kids (and possibly their parents!) are encouraged to team up to carry out a mission. In the case of the Iron Man repulsor gauntlets, kids can fend off enemies in a game not unlike laser tag. Children who have access to a mobile device or tablet can connect their Playmation toys to a free AvengersNet app, which allows them to unlock additional locations and characters, and download new missions.

Considering the kids will be playing outside or in areas without access to the internet, it’s good to know the Playmation toys do not require a constant connection to a Wi-Fi network to operate. That means children are free to use them no matter where they are—even if they’re miles away from an active internet connection.

What Playmation Toys Will Be Available?

At first, only the Marvel and Avengers-focused Playmation set will be available, but Disney plans to release more sets in the future. This is Disney we’re talking about, so just imagine how many characters and franchises they can tailor these wearable accessories for. They’ve already revealed that Star Wars and Frozen-themed Playmation sets will be coming sometime in 2016 and 2017.

On a personal note, I can say with certainty that I’d have loved to have something like this when I was a kid. These days the older generations seem to bemoan how often youngsters get stuck with their noses buried in one screen or another; it’s nice to see a company merging technology with imagination. I hope that this idea takes off; it certainly has a lot of potential.

If you’ve ever wanted to see Iron Man square-off against Darth Vader, or Elsa take on the Avengers, you may finally get your chance.

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