This smart dinosaur wants to make friends with kids, unlikely to eat them

This smart toy dinosaur is powered by a supercomputer

Everything’s smart at the moment, from phones to watches, and cars to refrigerators. But what about really smart toys? The CogniToy is probably the smartest we’ve seen yet, because not only is it connected to the Internet, but it’s powered by the same cognitive computing and language technology used by the IBM Watson supercomputer. That’s pretty smart.

The CogniToy, who really needs a proper name, is designed to get to know its owner. It asks questions, listens to and remembers answers – from favorite colors to interests – and can tell jokes. It’ll check the Internet for answers to general questions, with age-appropriate responses of course, and will even make up stories with kids. Educationally, the little dinosaur can help with spelling, vocabulary, math, and other topics in a fun, interactive way.

There’s only one button, and it’s on the dino’s tummy, and it’s used to wake him up. The CogniToy connects to a Wi-Fi network, then communicates with the IBM Watson servers to come up with answers, which are communicated in a normal way. Think of it like Siri for kids, but with a voice like Yoda.

cognitoys

We’ve seen something like this before. Way back in 1997, Microsoft released a toy line called ActiMates, the first of which was based on then-popular purple dinosaur Barney. He talked, sung, and interacted with kids, but sat on a special pedestal connected to a PC. He was also exceptionally irritating, a trait that happily doesn’t seem to have been carried over here.

Back to the CogniToy. Parents aren’t left out, and although they shouldn’t be playing with the dinosaur, a web portal lets them monitor progress through the educational programs, and even see the questions being asked. It’s promised the data sent will be anonymous, and won’t be shared without prior consent.

Aimed at four to seven year-olds, the CogniToy is available through Kickstarter right now, where it has already surpassed its $50,000 goal. The dino costs $100 and only comes in green, unless the campaign reaches $100,000, when other colors will be offered. Deliveries should take place in November, just in time for Christmas.

Smart Home

Here are the craziest things that work with Amazon Alexa at CES 2019

CES 2019 is the hotbed for the products that are going to revolutionize your life in the near future. In the meantime, here's a bunch of weird devices that talk to Amazon Alexa that you probably won't buy.
Deals

Take a look at the best 4K television deals for January 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Smart Home

Leviton’s smart home line shines with Alexa-powered smart switch and lights

Leviton is at CES 2019 and showing off a lot of new, connected lighting options including a dimmer switch that has Alexa built right into it and Wi-Fi connected outlets that make it easy to take control of your devices.
Gaming

Dive headfirst into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Emerging Tech

Earth’s magnetic field is shifting, vital map can’t be updated due to shutdown

The Earth's magnetic field is moving, effecting navigation systems of all kinds. A model of the field should have been good until its scheduled update in 2020, however, it has moved so quickly that an update is required much sooner.
Emerging Tech

Scientists debate mysterious flash of light in space, known as ‘The Cow’

On June 16, 2018 there was an unusual flash in the sky which puzzled astronomers around the world. NASA researchers have been collecting data on the event and have shared two competing theories for what could have caused it.
Emerging Tech

Brightest quasar ever seen discovered by Hubble, may be star-producing machine

The brightest quasar even seen has been observed with the Hubble Space Telescope using a technique called strong gravitational lensing. The quasar is enormously energetic and may be producing thousands of stars per year.
Emerging Tech

Watch China’s moon mission touch down on the planet’s far side

Video has been shared of a lander's-eye view of China's Chang'e 4 mission touching down in the Von Kármán Crater on the far side of the moon. The craft captured footage of the descent with a camera which was attached to the probe.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX nails its first launch and landing of 2019, but job cuts loom

SpaceX has nailed its first launch and landing of 2019 with a mission that deployed more satellites for Virginia-based Iridium Communications. But the success was soured somewhat by reports of upcoming job losses at the company.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers for 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.