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The Freestyle uses a black LCD screen, stylus, and knobs that create stamps for the updated version. The new Etch-a-Sketch dubbed Freestyle (via Spin Master)

 

My immediate reaction to this toy was, "how could I do this with a Raspberry Pi?"

 

No matter how old you are, you’ve played with an Etch-a-Sketch at one point in your life. The toy has been a staple of childhood since it was first introduced in the late 50s. However, for years the design has stayed the same: red plastic frame, white knobs, and sand. Now, the toy is getting an upgrade to compete with today’s smart toys. The updated Etch-a-Sketch by Spin Master will replace the aluminum powder with a black LCD screen. Instead of turning small knobs to draw, you’ll use a stylus for your creations. However, don’t worry; you still erase all your mistakes the same way.

 

Dubbed the Freestyle, the board has a similar look to the LCD writer Boogie Board, which is no coincidence. Spin Master teamed up with Boogie Board to create the new design. It even uses the same technology as other Boogie Board products like Magic Sketch and Play N’ Trace. Though you no longer use the knobs to draw, the iconic white buttons are there. They are now rubber stamps that can add marks like stars and circles to the screen. No more drawing in a drab black and white. Your creations will pop with the vibrant rainbow colors.

 

Though the Freestyle isn’t out yet, some purists aren’t very happy with the new design. The Verge called it “half the fun of the classic…with none of the effort.” Admittedly, it’s strange to see the updated toy, especially when the original design has been around for so long. People who grew up with the original will most likely scoff at the Freestyle. But, Etch-a-Sketch has to keep up. Kids’ time is often spent in front of a screen whether it’s via phone or tablet. Today’s kids may find the new design more engaging than the old school style.

 

Freestyle drops this fall and will only cost you $20. Don’t worry purists, Spin Master isn’t getting rid of the classic design. The company will still sell the toy we all know and love. Anyone else feel like picking up an Etch-a-Sketch now?

 

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