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Insert Coin: the ixi-play robot owl monitors toddlers, helps them learn (video)

Steve Dent, @stevetdent
August 13, 2013
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In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you'd like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with "Insert Coin" as the subject line.

Isn't a baby monitor effectively a waste of technology? With a bit more thought and an operating system, couldn't it do much more with its components than just scope your infant? That's the premise behind Y Combinator-backed ixi-play, an Android-powered robot that just launched on the Crowdhoster crowdfunding platform. On top of Android 4.2, a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU, 1GB RAM and a 720p camera, the owlish 'bot has face, card and object detection, voice recognition, a touch-sensor on the head, eye displays for animations, a tweeter/woofer speaker combo and child-proof "high robustness." For motion, the team adopted a design used in flight simulators, giving ixi-play "agile and silent" 3-axis translation and rotation moves.

All that tech is in the service of one thing, of course: your precious snowflake. There are currently three apps for ixi-play: a baby monitor, language learning and animal-themed emotion cards. As the video shows (after the break), the latter app lets your toddler flash cards to the bot to make it move or emote via the eye displays, matching the anger or happiness shown on the card. In baby monitor mode, on top of sending a live (encoded) video stream to your tablet, it'll also play soothing music and sing or talk your toddler to sleep. The device will also include an SDK that includes low-level motion control and vision programming, providing a way for developers to create more apps. As for pricing, you can snap one up starting at $299 for delivery around July 24th, 2014, provided the company meets its $957,000 funding goal (pledges are backed by Crowdtilt). That's exactly the same price we saw recently for far less amusing-sounding baby monitor, so if you're interested, hit the source.

Previous project update: Choose 'Toons from the Choose Your Own Adventure creators launched a mere day ago or so, but has already scooped up about $8,000 toward its $130K goal.

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