Sunday, January 17, 2010


Cole’s Great Nana and Great Papa bought Cole a shape puzzle for Christmas. It has many shapes and a little sensor so that as you are putting the shape into its correct spot, a little robotic voice says the name of the shape you’ve just placed. Clever, eh?

So we were trying it out.
“Circle” it was saying. “Square” as we placed the square into its spot.
Then suddenly, it said “oval”. But I wasn’t placing the oval. I had the oval in my hand! How did it know I was going to put the oval in its spot BEFORE I had? We continued placing shapes and then suddenly the puzzle was saying “Octagon” when we were placing a pentagon in its spot.

And I realized something. The sensors in the puzzle were so sensitive that even if my finger was touching the sensor (instead of the puzzle piece) it would say the shape’s name. I touched the spot for the trapezoid and sure enough, “Trapezoid” the robotic voice said with certainty.

A few days later, no one was home but me. I had set the puzzle in a box on the lower shelf of the table in our living room. And suddenly, a voice startled me. “TRIANGLE!”
I jumped.
I looked around.
Then I looked down. The puzzle was there by my feet.
Probably, I figured, my toe had touched the sensor of the triangle spot.
What a sensitive little toy, I marveled.

That night, around nine o’clock, I was turning out lights and about to head off to bed.
I flicked the switch for the living room.
And in the eery quiet of the dark room I heard the unmistakable, well-intentioned and now familiar voice declare, “ OCTAGON.”

And off I went to bed.

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