Why bother poring over dozens of books when the rest of the world is gaining an unfair advantage by going digital? That is the very concept of this cramming aid from Leapfrog – the Crammer.
Compatible with both Windows and Mac systems, the Crammer is a digital cramming aid which provides answers to more than 16,000 popular questions on mathematics, science and social studies – all compiled from leading school textbooks. The device can be programmed via its USB port through the Leapfrog Connect software that runs on your PC. Keeping in mind that all work and no play can make you a dull-head, there is also the option to play music on the Crammer – it has 8GB of built-in memory to load your music, and a headphone jack. Plus a couple of games and a Spanish translator.
Priced at $60, the device is great value for the money. It's primarily aimed at kids between 8-14 years old, but can also be a great aid for grown-ups who need to brush up on their basics too. After all, who wouldn’t want to be smarter than the 5th grader next door?
This isn't like the art setup you had when you were a kid. As an artists' daughter, I was lucky - big rolls of paper with beautiful inks and oil paints, even when I was a toddler. But I would have loved this - the high-tech creative toy from VTech called KidiArt Studio.
With KidiArt Studio, kids can do all the basics, but then plug into a PC to take drawing and art lessons, create their own printable posters and cards, or use the digital camera - smartly located on the arm of KidiArt Studio - to make stop motion animations. Probably the most fun feature is the ability to add silly art to photos. Also, when in PC connect mode, your child can save their creations, create custom e-Cards for friends, and print anything they've made. It even connects to the TV, so little ones can show off their creations.
Easy to set up and connect to the PC and TV, it's the new generation of art studio for munchkins. The recommended ages are 4-7 but I know some "big" kids who would love this too.
Let's take a small breather from serious technology and talk about mobile phones that look a little goofy, . . . well, Mickey. It's called the Mickey IT2, a mobile phone with a Disney-Mickey Mouse theme.
The Mickey phone looks adorable and has quite a few features packed into it – a 2.0-inch 262k TFT touch screen, 1.3MP camera, Bluetooth, microSD slot, FM radio, multi-language support and capacity to store 6 kinds of user profiles. Additional functions include currency converter, to-do list, world clock, unit converter, health test, and calculator. The phone is available for around $143.
Via Slippery Brick.
I love artistic innovation: the world would be a much more boring place had people like John Lennon, Frida Kahlo or Andy Warhol never been born.
Having said that, I don't always understand where artists/innovators are coming from, and that's the case with this design...
Francesca Lanzavecchia has designed something called the LightMate. According to her website, "LightMates are soft anthropomorphic pillows and warming lamps. Their different sizes answer to everyone's need of heat; a mate to hug or a huge companion you can lay on."
Call me childish, but anything that’s good enough to interest a kiddo would probably have a like effect on me. I sometimes get as excited over my little son’s toys as he gets over my gizmos. Since the latter happens more often than I can tolerate, giving him his own gizmos (that are good imitations of mine) is something that I am constantly trying.
A toy camera perhaps? Or a toy cell phone? What about a toy laptop? Been there, done all of that. Which is why the Crayola EZ Type keyboard goes right into the list. This colorful USB keyboard will ensure that your little one can only perform some limited operations with your PC (it doesn’t have all the keys of a "professional" keyboard) and have fun as well. Definitely worth the $29.99.
Via Slippery Brick.
Remember the Robosapien? That impressive (male) robot which could do all manner of cool things, from marching about in a dominant manner to throwing things and um... burping.
Well, it was about time manufacturers WowWee brought out a female version with similarly gender stereotypical specifications. The Femisapien can dance with you, blow kisses and pose in an impressive manner. So basically, she's a beauty queen in robotic form.
Pointless and regressive technology, much?
Via Shiny Shiny.
Ever see a gadget designed for a child and secretly want to buy it for yourself? I actually have one - a child that is - so I have a good excuse.
Take the new gaming handheld from Leapfrog called Didj, which has a unique feature that allows the users to customize the gaming and learning experience through the computer. While it looks like a DS Lite, it allows me, uh, Mackenzie, to add effects, action, characters, music and more.
Designed for grade schoolers aged 6 to 10 years, the Didj system offers the action-packed, big-graphics game-play that kids expect, but cleverly combined with a learning system. Take it anywhere and learn with favorite characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, and then go online to trade the points earned for more modifications to make it your own. Even better, create your own Didji characters in the online Didjerator.
Parents can choose the math and spelling skills they'd like the games to focus on, for example, spelling or multiplication. Sneaky, eh? For example, the Super Chicks! game allows the user to customize the game online with the math facts they've learned.
With the USB connection, parents can also see their children's progress in recent games, get detailed updates on the skills, and feel good about all the game time. At $89.99, it's cheaper than the Nintendo DS Lite, and the 10 titles are $29.99 each. Gaming system and games are available at Amazon.
Just don't tell the youngsters it's good for them, or that you're playing it while they're asleep.
Crave reports that a Brazilian designer named Bruno Oro de Abreu has been working on a Bluetooth-enabled teddy bear aimed at reducing isolation and improving socialisation for kids with cancer, or who have to spend long periods bedridden for other reasons.
The bear has a holographic display that can be used to surf the Internet, play games, attend remote classes, and make friends with other kids who have a Dilus. It also comes in a range of designs. At the moment, this is a graduation project, but Bruno Oro de Abreu hopes to have it on the market by 2010.
I'd hate to rain on his parade, as this seems like an ingenious design with very noble goals. It's just that... well, I still find talking teddy bears in loud designs as creepy as I did when I was 10. (But today's kids might be braver than me!) Also, there needs to be some way to monitor exactly who your kids are talking to...
I can't help wondering if a cute little Asus Eeepc is a better option. What do you think?
Not the first time we've seen plants in little bubbles that you dangle from a keychain or cell phone, but this one is a little more fun because the plants are vegetables that you can transplant into a real garden once they reach a certain size. To grow cabbage, sweet basil, cherry tomatoes, or bell peppers, you put little seeds with water and soil into this teardrop-shaped clear capsule, wait a week for the seeds to sprout, then plant in a larger pot or garden. Made by Masaki Environmental Engineering & Consulting Co., this little toy will cost you 1,890 yen (about $17). Wear it on your device, as a necklace or earring, or dangle it from your rear view mirror (but I'm not sure how much abuse it can take before it dislodges from the soil and makes you sad).
Via The Nikkei Weekly (subscription).
If you've never tried screaming to your lungs' full capacity, you really don't know what you're missing. But what if you don't live in the woods, away from all other humans? What if you have neighbors who aren't supportive of your efforts to rid your body of primal pain. Screaming into a pillow just doesn't cut it when you really want to scream from the depths of your soul.
Japan Trend Shop sells this shouting vase for $79. It's a plastic thingy that goes over your mouth and converts your explosive, pained, angry, gut-wrenching cries into little whispers that come out at the other end. Hmm, I don't know. How much of the release you feel after screaming comes from merely letting it out? Without hearing your screams pierce through your brain, do you get the full therapeutic value? Will this vase merely mock your pain by turning your torrents into insignificant droplets?
Via Random Good Stuff.