Computational creativity and the future of AI

Children

The Cubelets robotic construction kit allows anyone to build simple robots using blocks th...

Do you remember those colored building blocks you would use to learn words and numbers, or just construct mighty castles to keep your enemies outside? Well, they've now received a 21st Century update in the form of the Cubelets system. Currently made up of 20 colored blocks that snap together with the help of magnets, each one has a little computer inside which gives it different functionality to the others. One might be a sensor, another have wheels and another sport a potentiometer. The fun starts when you put them together. The behavior of the resulting robot depends on how the blocks talk to each other. Sweet.  Read More

The Solar Pegasus Flying Horse comes with a solar panel to draw power from the sun or a la...

Hunting round for batteries to power toys that come “batteries not included” is a common problem on Christmas morning. If there are none to be found then you’d better hope junior likes playing with the box because that new whizz-bang gadget can be decidedly underwhelming without any juice. The Solar Pegasus Flying Horse solves this problem by incorporating a solar panel in the mythological winged horse’s carriage to harness energy from the sun, or nearest available lamp, to power its batteries and keep the kids entertained long after traditional batteries have run flat.  Read More

Little learners can look forward to HD-like graphics on the 5-inch finger touch screen, wh...

If we needed any proof that 2011 is going to be the year of the tablet, CES and MWC have given us what we need. But why should all the tablet fun be had by the adults, as kids surely deserve their own touchscreen distraction too? Happily, Leapfrog has announced a multi-functional edutainment tablet for children ages 4 and up. The device has a collection of creativity tools – including a built-in camera, video recorder, microphone and animation studio – to allow kids to fully express themselves, and it will be backed up by an extensive learning library available at launch.  Read More

GeoPalz are pedometers for children, that are linked to a website where users can claim pr...

As children get chubbier and chubbier, finding ways of motivating them to exercise becomes more and more important. Rich and Sheri Schmelzer and Alexandra O'Leary have taken the approach of creating their GeoPalz pedometers, that record how far children walk, so they can then redeem their miles for free prizes and awards on the company’s website. As anyone who spent their childhood proudly working their way up the YM/YWCA’s hierarchy of sew-on swimming crests will tell you ... it’s not a bad idea.  Read More

Mommy I'm Here is a wireless alarm system that lets parents know when their child has wand...

A toddler on a leash – no matter how many times they see it, some people find the sight of a small child wearing a harness and tether just somehow wrong. It’s understandable why some parents do use leashes, however, as many tykes have a nasty habit of wandering off into the mall, park or woods as soon as mom or dad’s back is turned. There are GPS-based alternatives such as the Wherify Child Tracking System (which appears to now be discontinued), although they require the parent to access the internet or use their mobile phone. The Mommy I’m Here CL305 child locator, however, will instantly let you know where your kid went via an audible alarm.  Read More

Crayola iMarker digital stylus

Griffin Technology and Crayola have joined forces to launch "an entirely new digital play experience" in the form of the Crayola ColorStudio HD. Announced at CES this week, the system brings together a custom-built Crayola iMarker digital stylus with an iPad application that gives a high-tech edge to coloring by allowing kids to interact with the animated pages featuring music and special effects.  Read More

Air Hogs' RC Zero G Light Cycle

Back in 1982, when the original Tron was released, movie merchandising wasn’t quite as... robust as it is today. Therefore, there wasn’t much available in the way of Tron collectibles, much to the chagrin of Apple II-using geeks everywhere. Skip forward 28 years, and you can now buy Tron Legacy toys before the movie has even opened. One of the first out of the starting gates is Air Hogs’ RC Zero G Light Cycle... and yes, you're right, remote-control toys have become pretty much a dime a dozen. Ones that can be driven across walls or ceilings, however, are still kind of special.  Read More

The Swallowtail and Monarch versions of My Butterfly

“Robobutterfly” may not have quite the same coolness factor as words like Robocop, Robowrestler, or even Robogecko. The fact is, however, you can now buy your own flying mechanical butterfly, and it looks pretty impressive. Marketed in Japan as the ChouChou Electric Butterfly, the fluttering electric bug-in-a-mason-jar was unveiled at this year’s Tokyo Toy Show and this month it became available to the public.  Read More

MIT's Media Lab has come up with an interactive play learning environment for kids, which ...

In an increasingly tech-centric world, keeping kids interested in learning can be an uphill battle. With teaching that involves play recently attracting some powerful supportive voices, students from MIT's Media Lab have developed a system which merges technology and play to stimulate young minds. The Playtime Computing system uses infrared emitters and tracking cameras to monitor the position of a special robot within a play area. As the bot disappears into a hole in a panel, it appears to continue its journey into a virtual world projected onto the walls.  Read More

In Your Own Voice Storyteller

The In Your Own Voice Storyteller lets children enjoy a bedtime story with a familiar family voice – even if there's no familiar family member around. A parent, older sibling or grandparent records passages of a book onto a child friendly pen programmed with specifically coded stickers that can be attached to the relevant pages of a story book. All a child needs to do is place the pen over the sticker on the book’s page and the recording will play.  Read More

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