WASHINGTON – The bedtime ritual of a child putting on pajamas, cuddling with a parent, while reading a bedtime story has remained largely unchanged for centuries.
Smart PJs are storytelling pajamas, that use mobile technology, similar to a QR code, to display bedtime favorites on a smartphone or tablet.
“Being a parent of 6 kids myself, I know kids like bedtime stories,” says Juan Murdoch, founder of Smart PJs.
Murdoch came up with the idea while using QR codes in his real estate work in Idaho.
QR is short for Quick Response Code – the two-dimensional barcode consisting of square dots – that is easily scanned.
The bedtime stories are contained in the polka dots on the child’s pajamas, which are available in pink or blue.
“You scan one of those dot patterns on the kid’s pajamas – there are 47 different ones – and each one of those dot patterns is a bedtime story,” says Murdoch.
To choose a story, parent or child launches the Smart PJs Stories app (free, in Apple Store for iOS, or Google Play for Android), and holds the device’s camera over the dot patterns.
“You take the picture, and it automatically launches the story,” Murdoch says.
Murdoch says most of the stories contained in the app are in the public domain.
“It’s all the classics,” Murdoch says. “Cinderella, The Gingerbread Man, Old Mother Hubbard, Humpty Dumpty.”
Murdoch hired voice actors and artists to record the stories and illustrate the slides that correspond with the story.
Since many children practice reading while reading books at bedtime, Murdoch says he attempted to make the app educational, as well as entertaining.
“We put the actual words to the story on the screen,” Murdoch says. “As the narrator is reading the story you can actually follow along.”
Murdoch says despite being interactive, the pajamas are comfortable.
“Some people think there might be wires that are hidden in the pajamas, but that’s not the case at all,” Murdoch says.
While the comfort of Smart PJs might surprise some, the washing and care instructions will seem familar to most parents.
“The pajamas are 100 percent cotton, so they might shrink a bit,” says Murdoch.
See how Smart PJs work:
Follow @WTOP and @WTOPtech on Twitter.
Photos and stories by the Associated Press from 70 years ago this week.