3D Printing

CogniToys draw on IBM's Watson for some serious smarts

CogniToys draw on IBM's Watson...
The Dino is a "CogniToy" that wirelessly connects to IBM's Watson computer system
The Dino is a "CogniToy" that wirelessly connects to IBM's Watson computer system
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The CogniToys Dino was developed using 3D printing
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The CogniToys Dino was developed using 3D printing
The Kickstarter campaign is aimed at developing new colors for teh CogniToys Dino
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The Kickstarter campaign is aimed at developing new colors for teh CogniToys Dino
Variants of the Dino CogniToy
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Variants of the Dino CogniToy
Features of the Dino CogniToy
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Features of the Dino CogniToy
The Dino CogniToy is interactive
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The Dino CogniToy is interactive
The Dino CogniToys uses the Watson computer to grow and evolve with a child
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The Dino CogniToys uses the Watson computer to grow and evolve with a child
The Dino is a "CogniToy" that wirelessly connects to IBM's Watson computer system
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The Dino is a "CogniToy" that wirelessly connects to IBM's Watson computer system
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Today, an interactive toy is more often than not a chatty teddy bear with a very limited repertoire, but Elemental Path is developing a "CogniToy" that would relegate such toys to the dunce's chair. The Dino CogniToy isn't just a plastic dinosaur with a chip, it's a plastic dinosaur connected to IBM's Watson artificially intelligent computer system, which makes it not simply interactive, but also a toy that can "evolve, learn, and grow" with a child.

The CogniToys concept was one of the winners of IBM's 2014 Mobile Developer's Challenge, which was aimed at finding applications that made use of Watson's cognitive computing capabilities, and its creators are now determined to take their ideas and turn them into a commercial reality. To achieve this, the Elemental Path team used 3D printing to rapidly make prototypes for testing with focus groups and volunteers before settling on a dinosaur called Dino with a big button for a belly as the design for the first CogniToy. Pressing the belly activates the toy so the child can start talking to it.

The company says that the Dino has a wide range of features. It's capable of intelligent conversations, learns about the child as it plays and becomes more attuned to the child's personality and interests. In addition, It can answer thousands of questions in an age-appropriate manner, tell stories or create new ones, and tells and responds to knock-knock jokes. It's also a learning tool, which engages the child in educational play for spelling, rhyming, vocabulary, and arithmetic, among other subjects. The idea is to blend the educational games seamlessly into regular play

Features of the Dino CogniToy
Features of the Dino CogniToy

The key to the CogniToys is its wireless internet connection that allows them to link to the Watson supercomputer cloud platform. This not only provides the toy with access to formidable computing power, but also the ability to evolve and develop its own unique personality as the child grows. According to the makers, CogniToys not only learn from their owners, but also from lessons learned by other CogniToys and their experiences. The result is that all the connected toys become smarter with time.

Dino is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign aimed at moving the toy into the production phase. The hope is to introduce refinements to the design, such as a choice of colors beyond the current green. Pledge levels including a Dino start at US$99, with deliveries expected to begin from November if all goes to plan – and so far things seem to be going pretty well, with the campaign closing on in double the initial $50,000 goal after only a few days.

The team's video pitch can be viewed below.

Source: Elemental Path

Elemental Path presents CogniToys: KickStarter Video

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2 comments
GoodLife03
The data collected by that toy goes out of your control as soon as it is sent to Watson - well chosen name to inspire trust ;-) So, having your child beliefs likes and dislikes be data mined for profit or other ulterior purposes. Having your child educated or brainwashed by an unknown entity for unknown purposes. Charging YOU money for taking away power over your child's future. I would say no thank you.
Daishi
I agree with GoodLife03, "becomes more attuned to the child's personality and interests" is extremely scary.
I can't create an email account for a child under the age of 13 but I can put a supercomputer in his room and give it the task of learning about him and exporting that data where companies, researchers, governments, and likely advertisers have access to it?
Children minds are clay and extremely easy to influence. If I tell him the moon is made of cheese his eyes would sparkle and he would take it is true. Give him a toy who is seemingly all knowing who he trusts and how long before the toy is like "You really liked Toy Story, have you considered asking your parents for Toy Story 2?"
Kids are so happy and unspoiled by some of the harsher realities of life that sometimes a little ignorance at a young age is probably for the better. Let adults carry the burden of trying to solve problems in the world and enjoy childhood a little.
I think its good for them to have an outlet for their curiosity and questions they could probably just as easily find on Goggle or wolfram alpha or something but some caution is probably warranted before we plug them into the matrix of information like the Internet too early in life. I think the same mandate that stops me from creating a Gmail account for Pandora on my kids tablet without lying about his birthday should probably apply to putting Watson in his bedroom with the goal of learning about him and exporting the data out over our connection to the Internet.