Sure, the annual Consumer Electronics Week show in New York City featured the latest automotive advances and fun gadgets, like a drone for taking selfies. But what really stood out at this year’s event, held on 20 and 21 June, were the number of tech products tailored for families.
They included Aura, a digital picture frame that lets the entire family upload photos from their phones (even grandma who lives across the country), as well as ARIA, a suite of interactive augmented-reality educational games.
Here are three family-friendly products that stood out.
These unassuming shirts for children might look like other types, but they are equipped with a tracking device embedded in a patch or a pocket. The goal is to help parents keep tabs on their kids so they don’t get lost.
The tracker is synced with a smartphone app. When the child strays too far away from the parent’s phone, the parent gets an alert in the form of an alarm or vibration. The app is connected to Google Maps; a green circle appears on the screen when the child is nearby, and a red one when she is more than 30 meters away.
The shirts, which are machine-washable, could be especially beneficial when kids are on a field trip, visit an amusement park, or are some other place where it’s easy to get separated from the group.
The tracker’s battery lasts for up to 10 months. The shirts retail for US $39 to $74, depending on the design. Sold separately for $25 are patches embedded with the tracker—which can be sewn onto any item of clothing.
Let’s be honest: Not every child is born an artist. The Smart Sketcher helps kids learn to draw by projecting an illustration onto paper. Kids can then trace over the projected image and color it in a step-by-step process. And if the kids want to draw something unique, such as the family dog, all they have to do is take a photo using the Smart Sketcher mobile app. Fido’s image will project onto the paper.
The Smart Sketcher can help kids learn the alphabet, too, by projecting letters along with an illustration, such as A and an apple. The Learn-a-Language kits include 50 activities.
Other activity kits include a variety of illustrations based on a theme such as dinosaurs or superheroes and other characters like those from Angry Birds.
The projector sells for $59.95. Each kit is sold separately.
Instead of using a 3D printer, kids who want to make a 3D object can now do so with a pen. Just insert a strand of colorful printing plastic into the 3Doodler, wait a few seconds, then click on the button to draw three-dimensional shapes. There is practically no limit to the number of projects that can be made with the pen. They include jewelry, toys, and a birdhouse. Students in middle school and high school can use the tool to design more elaborate projects, such as a model of a bridge or roller coaster.
The 3Doodler also can be used for STEM activities. EDU kits come equipped with pens, stencils, and a variety of colored plastics, as well as activity guides and lesson plans for the classroom.
The 3Doodler starts at $49, and goes up to $249 for more advanced versions. Kits are sold separately.