STEMosaur is an educational talking toy dinosaur kids can build and program

STEMosaur educational toy
Elemental Path
There’s a lot of buzz nowadays about toys and activities that awake interest in children for coding and engineering. The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) toy scene has really exploded in the last couple of years and we’ve seen some intriguing STEM toys hit the market. The latest entrant designed to catch your kid’s eye and inspire them to be the next Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg is STEMosaur.

STEMosaur is a cute, 7-inch, plastic dinosaur that can talk to your kids, tell them jokes and stories, quiz them, and answer some basic questions. It’s Wi-Fi connected and easy to set up via an Android or iOS app. There’s a button on its belly that your child presses to pose a question and the STEMosaur’s mouth lights up to show when he’s listening. His Yoda-like voice comes out of the speaker in his left nostril.

It comes in eight parts and your child’s first task is to work out how to assemble it. Once they’ve constructed their own robot dinosaur, giving them a brief introduction to engineering, they can go online to access the coding panel. This is where the real fun and learning begins.

The coding panel is a simple browser-based flow chart that teaches kids the building blocks of programming with triggers and responses. It allows them to customize their STEMosaur’s conversations and create their own set of questions and responses. This means they can set up their STEMosaur to tell jokes they’ve concocted, dictate who its favorite super hero should be, or change how it responds to specific conversational prompts.

“Having kids construct it right from the beginning seems to add to their feeling of ownership,” Donald Coolidge, CEO of Elemental Path told Digital Trends. “The coding panel teaches kids how to program conversational agents, so they might start with something simple like a favorite color, but then go more in-depth and create conversation trees and complex stories.”

STEMosaur is the latest “CogniToy” from Elemental Path. You may remember our CogniToys Dino review from last year. The Dino was the first release and it came assembled with no coding option. It was originally powered by IBM’s Watson AI, but Elemental Path is now using its own proprietary technology.

While STEMosaur has all the same features and a very similar design to Dino, he must be built before he can be used and the ability to program him is new. You’ll also notice that he’s translucent now, so the kids can see the components inside. STEMosaur is recommended for girls and boys aged 7 years and over, and the building and coding is ideally something that parents will engage in with their kids.

There is also a parental learning panel, which can be accessed by parents online, that shows all the activities your child has been engaging in with their STEMosaur. You can see at-a-glance what stories they listened to or the games they played. New content is pushed out weekly and it changes based on the time of year, so you get special content for holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

While every STEMosaur will initially have the same voice, Coolidge told us there are plans to allow kids to choose their own voices in future and to tweak the tone and pitch. The coding panel is still relatively new, so the hope is that early backers will provide valuable feedback to help Elemental Path develop it further and possibly roll it out into future products as well.

“Our goal with STEMosaur is really to get kids excited about creation, engineering, and coding,” says Coolidge. “We want to inspire a new generation of innovators.”

It’s a laudable aim. There’s plenty of competition, with toys like Anki’s Cozmo and platforms like Sony’s Koov also aiming to get kids building and coding, but the conversational element of STEMosaur sets it apart.

You can pre-order a STEMosaur now at Indiegogo. The early bird price is $120 and it will cost $140 when it goes on general sale later this year.

Product Review

Why spend more? The Yoga Chromebook outdoes most laptops for $600

The Yoga Chromebook features great build quality, a 1080p display, and all-day battery life. All that for $540? That’s right, but there’s one catch.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

Intel answers Qualcomm's new PC processors by pairing Core and Atom in 'Foveros'

Intel has announced a new packaging technology called 'Foveros' that makes it easier for the company to place multiple chips together on one package. That includes chips based on different Intel architectures, like Core and Atom.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

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

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.