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This Wi-Fi speaker uses Amiibo-like figures to play music

This Wi-Fi speaker uses Amiibo-like figures to play music

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Photo by Ashley Carman / The Verge

I don't think of kids when I think of RFID tags, but congrats to MuuseLabs for making the connection for me. Jooki is a Wi-Fi speaker for kids. It ships with five figurines, each of which has an RFID tag embedded inside. Kids can place their toy on the speaker to cue it to play different playlists that their parents have set up. The idea is to offer kids a way to interact with physical media, since they don't buy CDs anymore, and help parents keep them away from screens.

I checked Jooki out today at CES and found it charming. The figurines are adorable, and I love the idea of delaying kids' screen time while still enabling them make their own decisions and interact with their own devices. The speaker pairs with a companion web app or iOS / Android app, where the playlists are defined. Parents can include songs from internet radio stations or local files. They can also record their own voice and use it to read a book to their kids or say goodnight. The company tells me it's working on a partnership with bigger streaming platforms, which seems essential for its success.

The speaker and a pack of five programmable tokens costs $199. It's available through Jooki's website.