Tuesday, 10 January 2017

CES 2017 Kid and Family Tech Roundup

CES 2017 is 50 years old this year and worlds apart from when the show started in 1967, which only featured TVs, radios and stereos. There's a fascinating timeline showing how technology has changed at the show in 50 years! (worth sharing with the kids to see some of the cool retro tech from years gone by!)

This year is our 2nd official coverage of CES, the worlds biggest Consumer Electronics Show, and there is a real sense of "future technologies" this year. There are always big announcements for tech in cars, TVs, computers and appliances, but at Tech Age Kids we focus on the kid and family tech, including robots, drones, home automation, wearables and tech toys. It's worth noting a huge increase in companion robots, which could in future become a new family member in the home.

Lots of brands and products focusing on kid tech, are back from last year with new products or improvements. There are also plenty of new comers. There were also lots of new programmable robots at CES, like the LEGO BOOST and Elmoji fromWowWee, which we've covered separately - Coding Toys for Kids: What's New for 2017.

In this post we look at interesting tech for families in Robotic Toys, Companion Robots and Virtual Assistants, Electronics, Connected Toys and 3D Printing.

Robotic Toys

  1. Hanson Professor Einstein

    The Professor Einstein, by Hanson Robotics, is aimed at 13+ and is an impressive talking and walking interactive robot and will turn your friends into a science genius.
    See: http://professoreinstein.com/

  2. MekaMon Reach Robotics Gaming Robot

    Reach Robotics from the UK, have made great progress with their MekaMon gaming robot. It's really interesting to see gaming moving off screens and into the real world with robotics. They presented a fantastic demo at CES 2017. See: https://www.reachrobotics.com/

Companion Robots

Companion robots or family robot is not a toy, but rather an addition to the family in the form of a robotic assistant.
  1. KURI

    KURI is made by Mayfield Robotics and connects to your WiFi. The robot is kid-sized, friendly looking and includes a camera, bluetooth connection to a iOS/Andriod app, moves around on wheels. Not brilliant for homes with stairs, but CES has seen a host of new companion type robots. It will be interesting to see how this market develops. See: https://www.heykuri.com/explore-your-home-robot
  2. iPal

    iPal is a humaniod robot made by Avatarmind. It is a child-size human looking robot which comes in pink and blue - why? and has screen on it's chest to play music, dance and interact with games. Avatarmind designed it as a safety and educational companion for kids. I'm not 100% sure I'd like my kids to have iPal as a playmate!
  3. NannyBot

    Five Elements Robotics created NannyBot to help parents look after their kids. With an on board camera, the metal lamp-shape looking robot, would follow the kids and send you images of them playing. Whether we like it or not, robots are coming and we need to figure out what we want them to do on our behalf. Parenting our kids, may feel a little too futuristic for 2017.
  4. PuddingBeanQ

    Roobo developed Pudding S as a companion robot for kids, and just announced Pudding Bean Q at CES 2017. The robot will launch in March and promises rich human-like emotions and a child-friendly platform to answer the questions kids want to know. It is designed to work with kids aged 8 and under. See: http://www.roobo.com/en/

Smart Home

  1. XYZPrinting

    XYZPrinting announced 4 new 3D printer for 2017, two of which are interesting for the home market. The XYZPrinting da Vinci Nano is a smaller version of the da Vinci Mini and looks like it is fully enclosed. It should make a great entry level 3D printer for families. The XYZPrinting Junior 2.0 Mix allows you to mix two colours, which is a great addition for kids. Currently you can only print with one colour filament with the da Vinci Mini / Junior. See: http://us.xyzprinting.com/
  2. Piper: 3D Printing & Music

    Piper is a computer kit which you build yourself and used the Raspberry Pi to run a custom version of Minecraft. At CES Piper announced the launch of ImagineOS, which turns the computer kit into a STEAM kit. There are extensions for 3D printing and creating music. See: https://www.buildpiper.com/

  3. Cujo

    Cujo is a device to help safeguard your house from external threats, like malware, external hacking and viruses. It promises to make the process of protecting multiple mobile smart devices, and home automation devices much easier and help protect your privacy.
  4. Aristotle

    Aristotle is a kids virtual assistance made by Mattel. Aristotle is based on the same idea as Alexa from Amazon / Google Home, but promises to be safe for kids to use and understand child language. It comes with a camera, bluetooth speak and smart lights, which means it could perform a range of tasks from when you baby is really small to when they are older and needs assistance with homework! Virtual assistants are really interesting introduction into the home and it will be a race to see who can solve first the privacy and child element problems of machines vs home life!
  5. Vobot

    Vobot is a smart alarm clock, powered by Alexa AI that can help with your sleep routine, play music, read bedtime stories and more. Vobot will be available from March 2017 and set to retail for only $35. Find out more and signup to be notified: https://getvobot.com/clock

Electronics / Connected Toys & Games

  1. Edwin The Duck

    Edwin Duck is an app-connected toy for very young kids, toddlers and preschoolers. The physical toy connects with an app and is packed with loads of technology. pi lab, the company behind Edwin, announced two new characters for the range including little sister Ellie Duck and best friend Louis the panda. There is bound to be more games and activities developed this year for the new characters. See: https://www.edwintheduck.com

  2. Tenka Labs

    Tenka Labs, launched Circuit Cubes, to help kids add electronics to every day toys like LEGO. The cubes are LEGO compatible, which is a really neat feature and has a smaller battery pack which helps with integrating into project. They are due to launch a crowdfunding campaign by the end of the month. See: http://tenkalabs.com/

  3. Beyond Tablet

    Beyond Tablet is an interactive electronic table top game which uses touch technology to allow kids to interact with objects, sounds and lights on the board. Games encourage playing together and there are a number of different games available with Beyond Tablet. Beyond Tablet has received the CES 2017 Innovation Award See: http://www.beyondscreen.com/en/
  4. Samsung Tag+

    Smasung Tag+ is a new button-style device developed by Samsung Creative Lab (C-Lab) which comes with a buildable toy. The Tag+ has 4 functions, click, hold shake and bump, and allows kids to connect and share their creations with other kids across the world playing with the same toy. The buildable toys looks like LEGO and the Tag+ connects using a smart mobile app.
  5. Pai Technology

    Pai Technology wants to help parents engage with their kids and technology through play. They are developing products and services to help families embrace technology and focus on the 3 - 12 years market. Their range of products include Cube-Tastic, which helps kids solve the classic rubix cube using 3D augmented reality; Ocean Pets, which let's kids make their own fish and make them come live with AR (augmented reality) and also Pai Band, which is wearable for kids. See: http://www.pai.technology
  6. SmartCycle by Fisher Price

    SmartCycle is a stationary bicycle for toddlers and preschoolers, which connects with games on a tablet or TV. The Think & Learn Cycle by Fisher Price connected with educational apps and games and requires your kids' pedal power to run. They can also turn the steering wheel which interacts directly with the game. This is not the first time Fisher-Price have made a stationary gamified tricycle, but the first time is can connect with a tablet and there is actually a holder for the device on the bike.

  7. WooBo

    WooBo is a cute, fluffy but smart connected toy that uses artificial intelligence to interact with kids. Woobo is made to interact with kids at their level in a fun and goofy way. WooBo hope to bring kids imaginary friends to life. See: http://www.woobo.io

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