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early learning software
Microsoft ActiMates Early Learning System, is a fascinating marriage of multiple technologies - computers, wireless radio, television, VCRs, electro-mechanical servos, and stuffed animals. Combine them all, and what do you get? A stuffed animal that interacts with special software, videotapes, Public Television broadcasts -- and children.
By itself, ActiMates Interactive Barney is a cute, purple stuffed animal, similar to the popular Teddy Ruxpin toy of the mid-1980s. But Interactive Barney goes Teddy one better. Instead of just speaking and singing the words of stories contained on cassette tapes, Barney has both a built-in repertoire of lessons, songs, and tricks, and the ability to interact with software and special television broadcasts.
Cover his eyes, and Barney says, "It sure is dark! Peekaboo! I see you!" Squeeze his hand, and he offers to play different games, like counting with your child, guessing an animal name by its sound, and an imagination game. Squeeze his toe, and listen to more than a dozen favorite chldren's songs.
Barney is fun for kids as a standalone toy, but the groundbreaking technology is only demonstrated when he is used with either of two add-on devices: a TV Pack, which adds a radio transmitter to the user's TV/VCR, and a PC Pack which does the same to a computer.
When attached to either, Barney can interact with special videotapes and television shows. Both send radio signals to Barney that enable him to sing-along with the shows, or comment on the action on screen.
Our reviewers reported one minor installation complaint -- the program does not include an uninstall utility. The user is left on his/her own to track down the various software bits and pieces the program installed.
PC: Windows 95 or higher, 486SX/66 or faster or faster cpu, 10 MB hard drive space, 8 MB RAM, SVGA (800 x 600) 256 color display, 2X or faster CD-ROM, SoundBlaster or compatible sound card with MIDI game port, headphones or speakerreturn to top of page
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