While coding and programming have become increasingly common in today’s technological scene, there are very few opportunities for children that get them started and ahead of the game early on. This is a reality Elemental Path’s CogniToys aim to shift. They’ve come up the STEMosaur, a new dinosaur toy that interacts with children - but there’s a twist. The dinosaur is programmable, and the children who acquire it have the opportunity to dictate the dinosaur’s responses and other content.
STEMosaur comes in ten different parts that children, with the help of their parents, can build and put together. This opens up the opportunity for children to start learning about the basics of engineering. The translucent green color of the dinosaur lets children see inside the smart toy once it is put together and observe the hard work they put into the build. A child putting together their very own STEMosaur gains a sense of ownership and pride when it works properly and becomes a new friend.
Then comes the fun part. After putting the toy together, children can go online and learn the basics of a simple programming platform that coincides with the STEMosaur. Children can decide what the dinosaur says, the types of stories it tells, and even program their own jokes right into the artificially intelligent brain. Parents can also go online and see what kind of content their children are looking at and searching for. The coding system is simple enough that parents can learn along with their children to add a new bonding experience. The parent panel helps with monitoring the usage and learning process, so that parents can keep up with and contribute to their child’s educational adventure.
The smart dinosaur stands at seven inches tall, with the main interaction button on its stomach and the voice speaker located in the nostril. The mouth lights up blue, indicating that the toy is talking or making noises. While the toy is “smart” in that it teaches, the option for meditation and breathing exercises is also available for children who need it. It all depends on what each child programs their own STEMosaur to do. The toy is recommended for children ages seven and up.
The interactive dinosaur holds various conversations with kids, educating them on things like mathematics, engineering, grammar, and scientific concepts. And since the STEMosaur’s content will get updated weekly, the option for holiday-themed games and stories are also available for the child’s enjoyment. STEMosaur is designed to answer questions and play with kids in real time through a simple press of the button on the toy’s belly. STEMosaur requires WiFi and can be accessed through a companion app for Android or iOS.
The idea for STEMosaur came when Elemental Path’s CEO Donald Coolidge started reading about children with autism using voice recognition technology like Siri to interact and learn. Coolidge wanted to stray away from screens and other breakable devices, and go back to children playing with actual toys. Since children create relationships with almost anything, the opportunity to make it smart and educational was a no-brainer. Their previous smart toy, Dino, was huge success and used the Watson AI system but didn’t engage children’s learning capabilities to their fullest potential. Elemental Path collected the data and saw the desire for building, interacting, and learning.
STEMosaur was funded by an Indeigogo campaign that ran for 45 days and ended on November 3rd of this year. The $25,000 goal was nearly quadrupled, also earning $125,000 from Arrow Certification. Elemental Path offered backing packages from $99 to $225, with promises of extra content and of STEMosaur being available by the holiday season. The toy can currently be snagged for a mere $120, among other available packages.
Elemental Path hopes that the feedback from early backers will help revolutionize the way that technology benefits children. Since there isn’t a lot of smart, interactive technology out there for children, the intention for STEMosaur is to eventually recognize speech patterns and understand how children question the world. While the world advances, the people in it need to advance, too. Smart toy technology like the STEMosaur is just a new way of preparing the next generation for a brighter, smarter future.
Check out the STEMosaur and purchase one yourself! Available by early December of this year.