My son has a lot of Nerf guns, but I must say, he would love to add this particular one to his arsenal: Nerf N-Strike Elite Nerf Cam ECS-12 Blaster. The reason? It has an integrated camera.

Rex Santus at Mashable recently introduced this “social media-integrated toy” from Hasbro, and it jumped out at me not because of the brilliance of the product but what it implies for the worlds of technology and toys. We all know that toys are getting smarter. Some toys even respond intelligently to your voice commands and do interesting things. And when we consider those game consoles, they are cutting edge technological marvels.

And now, with this simple Nerf gun with a camera, the toymaker is making sharing playtime moments that much easier. With its 4 GB memory card, a child (or a child-at-heart) can store up to 100 minutes of video. He can simply pull the card out of the gun, stick it into a laptop and share the videos on various social media platforms.

Now, what if we can upload the recorded videos right from the toy gun to those social media platforms? Children would love that. But the parents who need to fork up the money probably won’t since this additional social media-sharing capability will certainly increase the price tag. The recorded video files will need to be transmitted to social media platforms via the Internet, probably using a local Wifi network. So, this cool blaster would need to have a small Wifi module installed inside it.

The increased cost can be a barrier to purchase, but the concept of being able to share playtime moments readily is a worthy proposition to both children and parents. The toys are now more than just playthings. They are a “technological conduit” to social sharing. If we go a step further, these toys can even live stream how they are played. Live broadcasting your Nerf battle to the rest of the world? Now, that’s fun!

As the IoT (Internet of Things) influence flows through the toy industry in the coming years, more and more toys will be “connected” to one another and the Internet world. And naturally, video, including live streaming, will play a major role in transforming what it means to play with toys.

(Photo from: http://www.blastermag.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/1390883903_2f0a9565-1.jpg)

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