Color Pixter is a digital drawing toy that contains a small computer. It has a color LCD screen that is touch-sensitive by using an attached stylus. The toy, which costs $80, comes loaded with two drawing games, a dot-to-dot activity, and a paint-by-number game. It is expandable with separately-sold ROM packs. Symphony Painter is one of those add-on packs.
With Symphony Painter kids can compose music by simply drawing on the Pixter with the stylus. The software has been programmed to play certain melodies, chords, and other sounds that correspond to colors, lines, and stamps placed on the screen. For example, if a child writes her name in green, and then underlines her name with a red line, when she pushes the "play" button, she can hear a musical composition created by the drawing of her name.
But there is more to it than that. Kids can also compose sound bites and then assign them to certain drawing colors. For example, the blue color can be assigned a snare drum rhythm created by the child. Children can also control the pitch of the sounds by placing their artwork higher or lower on the drawing screen. And tempo is controlled by a slide bar. The drawing-to-create-music effect is quite magical.
The software also offers a musical memory game and pre-recorded songs that can be edited by drawing. While the toy can be played by kids as young as five years old, its sophistication will be most appreciated by older children—even siblings as old as 15 found this toy to be a marvel.
Symphony Painter evolved out of Fisher-Price's collaboration with the Toy Symphony project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab.
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