ToyBots — Interactive playthings for the IoT Age

ToyBots -- Visitors from the Past come to enslave us in the future!
ToyBots — Visitors from the Past come to enslave us in the future!

When we first started OpenCola Inc.., which was originally called “Steelbridge Inc.”, our first application was a distributed search tool called “My Little Robot”. Our cool office, which was on the ground floor of the JWT building in midtown Toronto was filled with hundreds of little robots — none of which I failed to rescue any when the business was sold. I’m sure they’re evenly distributed across the employee population, which seems about right, but every once in a while I wish I’d saved a few of those little guys. There was a lot of stuff going on at the same time back then, and in retrospect I saved what was most important.

The My Little Robot application was a simple idea which evolved into the more complex ideas that we instantiated in OpenCola, such as “Search Folders”. MLR was designed to be a personal agent — program it with what you were looking for, and with what you were interested in, and it would return relevant results for you from across the Internet. Still a great idea IMO, but not something that has caught on — my conclusion is that most of humanity is not as curious about new things on a daily basis as my co-founders and I were 🙂

However, my interest in robots has continued — IMO robotics will drive the next great step forward for humanity. As I moved on from OpenCola, I created a new trademark for “ToyBots” — with the idea being that programmable toys would be super awesome cool. So far, it’s been a bit early for the technology, but the time is definitely coming — Lego has had some success with their Lego Mindstorms technology, and world creation in the online world — such as SimCity; Minecraft; and The Sims — has become the norm. Applying the world-building mindset to the physical world would be incredibly cool…