Perhaps it’s because my wife will be popping out our firstborn in April, or perhaps it’s because the world has finally decided to take technology to the next generation, but I noticed a lot of ways at CES 2013 to put a screen in front of your child, and use technology in new ways to protect them.
A company called SafePlug has an interesting product that can either replace a wall outlet or go over it, screwing securely into the wall.
Without an RFID tag within 1/3 of an inch of the plug, there will be no electrical current. You can stick forks in the outlet, or french kiss it, and unless that RFID sticker is near it it’s not going to light the outlet. The RFID sticker and tag adheres to the end of your plug and cannot be easily removed for mischief.
The plugs are also inverted so the ground plug is always up; that way it’s a bit harder to accidentally have something fall and cross your power prongs if the plug is a bit loose.
The plugs can also be managed remotely and can report back on power consumption.
A couple of companies have very neat iPad holders with electronic stamp tools for children. I played with the ArtSee Studio a bit. It holds an iPad, has multiple physical pieces that react with the software, and basically keeps your iPad pretty safe from a rampaging child.
Different tools have different actions, so the child doesn’t have to know to go to menu, select zebra, select paste, etc. They just grab the stamp and touch the screen, pick up the path tool, and make the zebra walk.
The only thing I think is missing is string technology to keep the selection tools from wandering off.
One of the pieces that has drawn great ridicule this year was a device called the iPotty, a training potty that holds an iPad. It’s either the stupidest invention or the greatest; I guess it depends on your child. I’m inclined to snicker at it, but I’ve read enough parents who think it’s a godsend to keep my snickering down.
One of the items I do not have a picture of or press material for is a pacifier that uses Bluetooth to report your baby’s temperature. While knowing your child’s temperature all the time may seem silly, getting an alert that your child has a fever before she starts getting cranky could be quite useful.
Another device for e-child management involves a tag and a proximity alarm for if they wander out of range.
While there were tons of protective cases aimed at keeping an iPad alive in the hands of a toddler, or adding functionality like the ArtSee Studio, some companies decided to make tablets designed for children. I’ve seen these around for a couple of years, so it’s not exactly a new idea, but the goal seems to be “my first tablet,” as opposed to a learning or game-only interface.
A company called Brush Buddies released a toothbrush that will play your child’s favorite music while they brush. Get a mouth full of LMFAO or Bieber singing your favorite song. I fully expect these to be wireless Bluetooth with a small display and the ability to upload your child’s new favorite artist by next year.
While there were a wide variety of remote camera options that connect with your phone to monitor your kiddos remotely, none seemed to be the complete package that would integrate everything. Cameras with ambient temperature monitors seemed to only transmit to a small receiving unit, and nothing had hotspot detection to monitor for flames or overheating baby.
One of the things I wrote about a couple of days ago – Power People’s software – seemed almost the perfect baby monitor, except it doesn’t have real time video yet. Any sensor can be hooked into it, and multiple actions taken based on conditions. If the baby’s room is too cold, crank up the heat. Too hot, turn the thermostat down. Noise heard first time 10:00 p.m.-4:00 a.m.? Play a soothing lullaby. Noise heard after lullaby? Alter the conscious state of the parents to get the kid some food.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see those abilities in baby monitoring gear, but hopefully those will be available soon, otherwise I’m going to have to hit up Andreas for help writing a Tasker-based child monitor.