Smart interactive pajamas which, when scanned with a camera phone or tablet, can tell bedtime stories, have been invented by Juan Murdoch, a father-of-six from Idaho Falls, Idaho.
The pajamas are adorned with 47 clusters of dots that act like barcodes. When a child scans each cluster with a tablet or smartphone camera, a different bedtime story or lesson about an animal is launched.
“Kids have a patience level of about ten seconds,” inventor Juan Murdoch, whose own children range in age from six to 18, told Today.com.
“The nice thing about these is they’re instant.”
There are currently two apps that sync with his invention, called Smart PJs.
The Smart PJ Stories app contains 47 different bedtime tales including Mother Goose classics and tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.
The original Smart PJ app provides lessons about 47 different animals, accompanied by five pictures of each of the creatures that are launched to the tablet or smartphone.
The stories and lessons are written in text and narrated out loud, but they can also be muted so children can read along on their own.
Reactions to the futuristic sleepwear have been mixed though, with some parents claiming it is an “unnecessary” use of technology.
Juan Murdoch, 46, says his own children are big fans.
“Pajama day at school was a fun day,” he explained.
The inventor also asserted that Smart PJs – which won the award for Boise’s Hottest Showcasing Startup – are intended to be enjoyed by the whole family, not just a lone child.
“We purposely created Smart PJs with the scannable dot patterns all over them so that parents can help the child scan the stories on their backs where they can’t reach,” he told Tech Cocktail.
Juan Murdoch, who works a realtor, said he came up with the idea during a briefing at his office about QR codes – the black-and-white squares that smartphones can scan to lead them to different websites.
He initially tried using QR codes on the pajamas, but the patterns did not show up well on fabric.
So Juan Murdoch enlisted a developer and together they invented an entirely new form of dots, similar to Braille, that was more easily scanned from fabric.
When the product proved functional, Juan Murdoch said he was “blown away”, and so were his children.
Now says he has plans to create six more apps for the interactive sleepwear by Christmas.
“The pajamas stay the same, the content changes,” he said of the upcoming apps, which will include a holiday-themed one and others involving songs and games.
Part of the appeal for children, says Juan Murdoch, is the unpredictable factor, since children don’t know what story will pop up until they scan the dots.
“It’s the element of surprise there that makes it fun,” Juan Murdoch explained.
Smart PJs are available in kids sizes one to seven, for $25 a set, on SmartPJs.com.