May 12, 2008 Designed to enhance the learning to read experience LeapFrog’s next generation Tag Reading System uses special dot-printed books and a stylus fitted with an Infrared camera and speaker to allow children to hear the words of the story and read along.
The portable gadget is small enough for little hands and able to be carried anywhere. Kids simply move the Tag stylus across the page it makes words talk and pictures sing via the camera at the tip of the stylus which ‘reads’ letters, words and symbols printed on the special dot-patterned pages of books in the Tag library.
Designed for children aged four to eight, the Tag Reading System works with a diverse library and the company has partnered with major publishers in order to deliver children’s books and characters including those from Disney/Pixar films.
Using a specially designed computer application, parents can download each book’s audio content from the Internet onto the stylus - just like managing digital camera or MP3 files. The Tag’s 16MB of memory can store audio content for up to five books at any one time. As an added benefit, Parents can create each child’s individualized profile with the new online LeapFrog Learning Path. Each time children finish playing with Tag, parents simply connect via USB to their computer to view details about learning games played, skills engaged and progress made.
The Tag Reading System is built around a custom, mixed-signal ASIC that incorporates a 32-bit RISC processor, DSP driven stereo audio system with multi-channel MIDI hardware, specialized control logic and power management functions. It ‘reads’ by identifying dotted media at a rate of 50 frames-per-second, providing a response time less than 50 ms, and allowing drag rates of over 12 inches-per-second. The operating system allows the device to perform specialized functions, including absolute position detection, game logic processing and event logging to monitor users’ progress. The software is both Mac and PC compatible with Mac OS X and Windows Vista/XP/2000.
The Tag Reading System will be available from June 2008 for a retail price of USD$49.99, with additional books available for $15.99/$21.95 each.
The innovative learning toy was recently crowned the 2008 Australian Toy of the Year. LeapFrog is also responsible for a number of educational toys including the ClickStart PC for preschoolers and a parent-controlled cell phone for kids aged six and up.