CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017 – the global trade show for all things tech – is well and truly under way.
And this year, it seems some of the most newsworthy new products and inventions have been designed for us and our little ones.
Each year, we’re amazed to see which everyday parenting essentials have been decked out with hi-tech features and new functions, and which completely new innovations are heading our way.
So we thought we’d take a quick look at some of the most interesting (and most divisive) products that have been revealed so far…
Fisher-Price Think’n’Learn Smart Cycle
What it is: It’s essentially a stationary exercise bike for children, with games and apps they can play, and a holder to attach a tablet. When it’s out: It’s scheduled for release in the US with a RRP of $150. There’s no UK release date at present.
Billed as a solution for parents who are concerned about their kids’ activity levels and ever-increasing screen-time – some social media users love the idea.
However, many of those not in favour of the product suggested the simple solution would be to limit TV/tablet time, or better yet, buy your kids a real bike.
So it’s safe to say this one’s really divided opinion.
What it is: Think Amazon Echo, or ‘smart home personal assistant’ – but for your child. When it’s out: June 2017 in the US, priced around $300.
The Aristotle comes with the main dock and a baby monitor-esque camera. It can actually understand what your child is saying, and talks back with the voice of a young pre-school teacher. The idea is it’ll play games and ‘share facts’ with your little one.
Some parents might be wondering how useful this is – but it also has another mode, ‘parent mode’, which allows you to order things from Amazon using Alexa (their voice assistant). It also comes with an app.
This product’s received a fair bit of backlash, questioning how it will protect children’s data and privacy, as the device records what you’re child is saying.
It’s also connected to the internet, and all that data is being sent to the app on your phone via an encrypted feed.
Mattel says the product as a whole is part of the natural evolution of kids and technology, much like the way children are entertained (and rather efficient with) smartphones and tablets.
Only time will tell what the future holds for Aristotle…
Willow Smart Breast Pump
What it is: A ‘smart, wearable, hands-free’ breast pump that fits in a bra without attachments. When it’s out: No word yet, but will cost around $430.
A silent breast bump, without tubes and attachments? That’s what the Willow claims to be. It works with a bag inside the device and according to numerous sources, the battery-powered pump lasts several days before needing a charge. Of course, there’s an app to help track how much milk is being produced, too.
While some of the products revealed at CES 2017 are a bit, well, scary-sounding – this seems like it might be a welcome piece of kit for busy or on-the-go breastfeeding mums.
Netgear ‘Arlo Baby’ Baby Monitor
What is it: A high-tech baby monitor camera – with a difference.
When it’s out: Spring 2017 in the US, starting from $230.
This camera boasts numerous features: 1080p, has 2-way audio (so you can communicate with your little one), air sensors, a nightlight, a music player and can be dressed in one of 3 skins: bunny, cat or dalmatian.
That’s on top of the fact it’ll send your a phone notification every time your baby moves or makes a noise. It also streams live to the Arlo app, so you can check on your little one whenever you want.
That’s a lot of baby monitor features, right? No wonder it only has 7 hours of battery life before it needs plugging in.
Kuri The Robot Nanny
What is it: A cute, WiFi-enabled, security camera robot that can wheel (and remember) its way around your home using sensors. When it’s out: December 2017, costing $700.
CNET suggests in its review of Kuri that it may have been designed to be appealing to little ones – it’s smiley, with Wall-E style chirps and nods instead of responding with actual speech, the ability to follow voice commands, as well as the ability to play music and read stories. It can even recognise people and respond accordingly.
But while no one will be able to use the totally adorable Kuri as an actual babysitter just yet – though you could use it to keep an eye on your pets when you’re out of the house, for example – it’s definitely a step in that direction.
At such a high price point, you’d probably want to Kuri to learn how to do the washing up and the ironing, too.
What it is: A set that can turn existing LEGO sets into motorised toys. When it’s out: Second half of 2017 in the US, costing $160.
If your child is older than 7 and really loves LEGO, this educational coding toy might be one to watch.
It comes with special Boost bricks that do all the robot-y stuff, 5 sets to build and the kit is app-enabled, which is where all the ‘basic programming’ happens, and also means you can record voices for the toys.
One thing’s for sure – it’s on a different level to robot and coding toys we’ve seen in the past.
What do you think?
Do you agree with the Smart Cycle criticism – and think children should probably separate their screen time and running around time?
Which of these products would you most like to try out – or do you have any ideas for handy techy parenting products you’d like to see someone make?