Report – Technology – What’s Next?
- Consumers can expect to see reliable AR hardware on the market within 2 years.
- Emerging technology combinations learn and adapt, allowing children forward movement in infinite directions instead of traditional linear paths. This is exciting, terrifying and full of potential.
Moderator Matthew Thomas of MTM began the discussion asking the panel where they saw opportunity for engaging kids with voice assistants. Preloaded’s James Allsopp is most excited about how voice technology can be used to create access for kids with vision and cognitive impairments. What about the tendency to outsource a child’s attention to Alexa and an Ipad? BBC’s Jon Howard placed the responsibility with the industry to create products that generate conversations within families. Lucy Gill of DiGills Consulting addressed privacy concerns within voice assistant technology. Her answer is the industry must compel themselves to design voice technology to a standard that can be incredibly easy to turn off so that children’s privacy is not violated. Gills emphasised that this was important for the ethics of the industry separate from government regulation.
Raj Pathmanathan of Kids Industries discussed the opportunities in designing for AR and toys, “if AR is used right we want to create memories”. The shareability of VR and its potential to spark more imaginative play emerged as one of the really exciting applications of this technology. The flow from physical to digital play is a barrier that requires attention from the industry. Kids can’t hold iPads for a long period of time. It is also difficult for them to move from digital play back to physical play.
The panel discussed Cozmo, the toy at the intersection of AI, robotics and coding. Cozmo has a strong level of engagement with character in this application, making it stand out amongst AI products. The panel saw Cozmo’s value as a tool to get kids to think digitally and to see coding as an expression of creativity. Cozmo also engages with storytelling and empathy which are important components of emerging technology that can cause friction between industry and parents. These details may help Cozmo overcome the boredom threshold children reach with new tech. It is an expensive toy so the barrier to access is still in place at this moment.
Head of Design
Children’s Technology and User Centred Design Consultant
Executive Product Manager
Head of Digital Content Strategy & Product