May 2, 2014
Kid-friendly gadgets from the future

I have a distinct memory as a child of being on Disney World’s Epcot ride that hypothesized scenes from the future. One scene included a family who kept in touch by video conferencing on their computer screens. But now, some twenty years later, that’s a reality. Technology and innovation isn’t slowing down for anything, and luckily, there are some ‘futuristic’ products that intend to improve the lives of our children and families.

Tinitell is the world’s smallest mobile phone designed to keep kids safe and have parents worry less. In the form of an adorable and well-designed bracelet, it uses a simple, voice-activated call system that can be operated with the touch of a button and by saying a contact’s name (whether it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma, or your au pair.) It can also receive calls from other phones. The parent or guardian programs Tinitell’s app, which stores relevant numbers and uses a voice recognition system and GPS positioning functions. Pledges of over $99 on Kickstarter get you on the list to receive a Tinitell, which will retail for $179 once successfully funded.

Most agree that it’s best to start learning a new language young. Many parents want their children to learn Spanish or Mandarin, but what about the language of programming? Play-i have created Bo and Yana, two robots that teach kids the basics of computer programming through hands-on playtime. Co-founder Vikas Gupta learned programming in his teens and realized that if the United States wants to compete with other countries, our children are going to have learn how to code earlier (in Estonia, children learn programming as early as first grade.) His answer was to teach programming in the form of a toy. The robots, who are controlled by a companion app, offer programming for kids as young as five years old to 12 years old and up. You can pre-order the robots to receive them before Christmas 2014.

Volvo is innovating with a concept, that if it ever was produced, would prevent many headaches for parents, guardians, grandparents all over the world. No, it’s not a futuristic car, but a futuristic, inflatable car seat. Imagine: no more over-burdened moms and dads at the airport lugging their three kids, luggage, and a car seat at the end of their patience. Volvo’s Concept Center in LA used a mix of military technology and advanced prototyping to produce a design that’s just as safe as the traditional car seat, but it can be deflated in 40 seconds, and stuffed into a handsome bag. There are already safe, inflatable helmets currently on the market, so the future of this car seat might as well be now.


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