A small startup company called Extrality is working on augmented reality flashcards for phonics. They’re calling them SmashCards. The idea is to embed interactivity into what look like ordinary flashcards, thus (hopefully) enhancing children’s phonemic awareness and understanding.
When a SmashCard is held up to a webcam, relevant graphics or videos can pop up on the computer screen (e.g., the T and the EA are fluttering butterflies):
The system also can tell when SmashCards are combined and can even determine what order they’re in. For example, T + EA shows a person with a cup of tea, while EA + T shows a video of someone eating.
Here’s a video that further explains the concept. I’m not sure what happens when SmashCards are combined that don’t go together (e.g., X + Q).
More information about the project is available at the SmashCards web site. In addition to the flashcards, they’re also creating interactive stories and activities; the goal is to create a multitude of different units on different topics.
I think it’s an interesting concept. If you’re intrigued, you can become a sponsor by helping them raise money on Kickstarter to get their first sets created.
What do you think? Is this mere eye candy or an innovative use of technology to help kids with important skills?