The children are our future, or so they say, so why not leverage some futuristic technology to help them grow?
While most smart home products are conceived as machines of convenience that will save usersâ time and energy, thereâs an entire sector of devices that aid you as parent and teacher.
Below weâve outlined smart home products that will engage your childâs intellect and alleviate your job as a parent.
Enjoy the last few moments when you are more technologically savvy than your child.
Engineering a Future
A January report found that the worldwide smart home market is expected to grow by 15% annually for the next five years, âwith revenue reaching $53.45 billion by 2022.â
This rapidly expanding market means highly paid employment for engineers equipped to build the smart technology products of tomorrow.
So how do you set your children on a path to becoming a rich-and-famous app-and- device impresario? With littleBits.
littleBits teaches users to build simple, straightforward smart home products via a series of color-coded electronic building blocks, laying the foundation for future invention.
The best place to start your young one is with the littleBits: Rule Your Room kitÂ ($99.95). The kit enables your child to build thousands of inventions, from simple (and somewhat silly) security systems to motion-activated moving art collages, and will enable you both to determine whether Junior has an innate inclination toward engineering.
Next you just wait for that sweet, sweet start-up money to roll in.
Some aspects of child-rearing require a more personal touch. Or at least, person-like.
One of the break-out hits from this yearâs Consumer Electronics Show, Mattelâs smart speaker-meets-baby monitor (with a number of devices in between) is a wealth of wisdom that grows with your child.
Equipped with an HD Wi-Fi camera and a sound machine, Aristotle will be able to soothe your smallest one to sleep and provide live-streaming evidence that slumber has been achieved. Better yet, Aristotle comes equipped with Do This When formulas (think If This Then That) which can be enabled via the accompanying app and will automatically, for example, begin playing a lullaby or turn on a nightlight (or both) when the monitor hears a child crying. All this and Aristotle will automatically order diapers when it notices you are running low.
But Aristotle is invested in your childâs development beyond infancy. The smart speaker can answer questions, host sing-alongs, teach the ABCs and 1-2-3s, help with homework, provide foreign language lessons, and play guessing games.
And because having a robot caretaker may engender different ideas of decorum, Aristotle can be enabled to not answer any questions or requests unless the asker says âplease.â
Aristotle is available for pre-order now for $349 and begins shipping in July 2017.
A lot of parenting is about âthe carrot and the stick”ârewarding good behavior and discouraging bad. And while we can only imagine that Silicon Valley is months away from launching some type of drone-based carrot-dispensing device, in the meantime, weâll have to make do with the Wemo Switch.
The Wemo Switch is a smart plug that serves a very simple, but valuable purposeâturning off (or on) electronic devices from a distance.
“Moderation in all thingsâ is an important lesson, and if it is one this generationâs latchkey kids (smart lock scions?) have yet to learn, parents can control their childâs TV (or Playstation) time while en route home from the office.
Wemo Switch, which retails for $39.99, can be paired with applets from IFTTT.com to notify users about a deviceâs activityâlike if a TV has been turned back on after you have turned it off, for example.
Stream of Knowledge
Anyone working in todayâs office environments knows how high-quality streaming video has allowed for worldwide collaboration in real time.
The same innovation for kids is available at home via Nucleus.
A dedicated live-streaming video device, equipped with a 120Âº HD camera and stereo speakers, the Nucleus provides instantaneous âin-personâ collaboration between individuals regardless of location.
Have a specialized tutor in mind but limited by time or distance? Set up Nucleus study sessions and watch those algebra scores go through the roof. Or perhaps you just want your child to draw on the wisdom and experience of their elders. Nucleus will make chatting with grandparents a simple and straightforward process.
Best of all, not all parties need to have a Nucleus. While your child will work off of the dedicated device, a tutor need only download the Nucleus app on their smartphone or tablet to commence the video stream.
A single Nucleus device costs $149. Two cost $298.
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