This article is part of Indianapolis Monthly’s February 2016 Tech City package. For more on this window into the city’s tech world, click here.
Outwardly, Edwin the Duck, the new educational toy from Carmel-based Pi Lab, shares a lot of DNA with its bath-time predecessor, the rubber ducky. But Matt MacBeth and Don Inmon’s state-of-the-art creation—poised to go from the tub to the tube, with a TV deal in the works—has more in common with your iPhone. When paired with a free app, the interactive duck features stories, music, and learning-based games. It’s a rare example of a consumer electronic conceived in Indy. At $100 a pop, you probably won’t want to take Edwin apart to see what he’s made of. So we did it for you.
- The body is a single piece of silicone that’s almost luxurious to the touch. Pi Lab experimented with five different grades of silicone before they got the right feel.
Edwin’s heart, which glows green and red, is the toy’s on/off button and doubles as a power indicator.
A hard tap to the wings produces a nightlight—beamed from an interior LED to Edwin’s head—with three brightness settings.
Edwin shares MacBeth’s middle name, which felt both old-school and approachable for the duck. It represents the 15th product launch from the former Klipsch engineers, and the first educational toy.
The USB-powered nest delivers an eight-hour charge.
The super-strong plastic shell houses a waterproof lens and speaker cover.
Edwin generates more than 180 sounds from his speaker, including flapping wings and ruffling feathers. Some of the noises Edwin makes were sampled from Pi Lab staffers.
An antenna transmits Bluetooth-based “Squack” technology to allow two-way interaction between Edwin and the app. That means your iPad can animate Edwin and vice-versa.
An audio amplifier streams songs from your tablet. Cue Ernie from Sesame Street.
Edwin knows if he’s moving left, right, up, or down—or is being tossed in the air—thanks to an accelerometer.
The LED can project more colors than the human eye can register.
Several seals and gaskets keep Edwin sea-worthy (and water-tight) to depths of eight feet.
An infrared sensor gauges bathwater temps. Edwin glows blue (cold) or red (hot) to ensure the kids are always soaking in the perfect temperature.