This is part two of Dan Tynan’s report from the Consumer Electronics Show, where he was on the lookout for great gadgets for kids and parents. Read his first entry here.
If you’re as tired as I am of the kids stealing your iPad when you aren’t looking, you’ll appreciate the line of Nabi tablets from Fuhu. These 5-, 7- and 9-inch Android tablets are designed specifically for children of all ages. Each tablet comes preloaded with kid-friendly apps that teach younger ones things like how to tell time and dress appropriately for the weather, with apps for tweens that allow for safe IM and social networking.
Now Fuhu has teamed up with Dreamworks to create a new line of DreamTabs starring kung fu pandas, grumpy ogres, swashbuckling cats, dragon tamers and other beloved animated characters. Each tablet will also feature game-like educational software designed by professional teachers and a library of 10,000 instructional videos that gently guide kids through each lesson/game. Using an optical pen, kids can write on specially designed workbooks that wirelessly transmit the characters to the tablet as they draw them on the page. Can you say “too cool for school”? An 8-inch Dreamtab will cost less than $300 and be available sometime this spring, according to the company, with a 12-inch and even larger models coming later.
Teddy The Guardian
This Guardian is a standard issue Teddy Bear with a difference: An embedded sensor that detects your child’s temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels with a squeeze of his paw, then transmits the data to your phone. The idea is to make it easier to take the vitals of wee ones, as well as gather copious amounts of data in real time. A plastic heart in Teddy’s chest flashes red in time to your child’s heartbeat, which can teach small children about the pulse while totally creeping out their parents. (Good luck convincing them stuffed animals aren’t real.) Today this care bear is available only to health professionals, but the Teddy team hopes to have a $70 version available to US consumers before year end.
Modular Robotics’ MOSS
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or an evil genius to build your own personal robot. Just grab some MOSS modules and start snapping them together to build bots that roll, spin, scoot, or lift small objects. The magnetic 1-inch cubes have color-coded faces; match the colors to pass power or data from one to the next. You can also attach wheels, cranes, hinges, LEDs and sensors that respond to light, sound or commands sent from your phone. It’s a great way to introduce kids age 8 or later to the principles of robotics and/or get them started on their plans for total world domination. Modular Robotics is taking pre-orders now, with plans to ship in April. A basic builder kit containing 14 modules is $150; the Advanced kit with all the goodies costs $400.
Phone Halo StickR TrackR
It’s become part of my morning ritual: Frantically going from room to room in my house yelling “Has anyone seen my keys?” (Also my phone, wallet, glasses, and sometimes my brain.) But no longer. I just attached the nickel-sized StickR to my keychain and find my missing items with the tap on the app. And if I have my keys in hand but can’t find my phone, a press of a button rings my mobile device. The biggest caveat? It only works with devices that support Bluetooth 4.0, such as the iPad Mini or the Google Nexus 4. Phone Halo also makes trackers for my wallet and my glasses, but I’m still waiting for one that works with my brain. Costs $25, available later this year.