Elemental Path's 'CogniToys': Super Cool Dinosaur Talks And Listens To Your Child And Is Backed By IBM's Watson

Dinosaur With IBM's Watson For A Brain
Elemental Path's CogniToy is a talking-and-listening dinosaur that has the power of IBM's Watson backing it up. Screenshot

With the invention of the Internet, humans have been able to amass and access the vast quantities of knowledge we’ve acquired over the years. With a simple click of a mouse, you can find out who invented the cubicle or how many Hall of Famers were on the 1986 Boston Celtics; the breadth of knowledge at your fingertips is boundless. As a child, you might not be able to handle the complexities of accessing the Internet and finding what you’re looking for. Enter this awesome dinosaur.

Elemental Path’s CogniToys has introduced a talking-and-listening dinosaur aimed at kids 5 to 9. But this dino isn’t your average T-Rex. It has IBM’s Watson backing it up, so when your kid somehow asks what was the year of the sinking of the Lusitania, you can hand her the dino and breathe a sigh of relief. Don’t think that every single dinosaur has Watson stuck in its tiny head, however.

“For privacy reasons, the toy doesn’t directly connect to Watson,” JP Benini, co-founder of Elemental Path, told Wired. “It connects to our proprietary platform, which in turn connects to Watson for Q-and-A statements. Our platform is where we keep the personality, all the stories, the jokes, all the educational exercises, and personalized experiences. … We use Watson as the logical left brain to our creative right brain.”

Setting up the dinosaur is simple: Connect it to Wi-Fi via the CogniToy app on your smartphone, and the dino is ready to go. As your child plays along, the toy slowly learns how the child is using the toy. So, for instance, if the child says her favorite color is pink, the toy will do its best to remember that the next time a subject about her favorite color comes up. It also tailors its content and experiences based on the needs of the child. If she’s using it to learn how to count, the dino will offer up plenty of different games and puzzles that will help the child learn.

It’s not all work, as the dino does have a sense of humor. You can ask it to tell jokes or stories and it’ll respond similarly to how Siri does on your iPhone. The dino’s personality will also be modified based on the interactions it has with your child.

The CogniToy project was funded during a Kickstarter campaign, but has seen a huge boost thanks to its relationship with IBM’s Watson. The toy won the grand prize in the 2014 Watson Mobile Developer Challenge and earned a partnership with IBM to develop the technology further.

“The Kickstarter campaign was a great way to inform and educate the general public,” Coolidge said. “[It] provided us with a tool to speak directly to our early adopters about how the toy should look, feel, and act.”

Preorders for the toy are available now for a retail price of $120. It comes in three different colors: blue, pink, and green. 

 

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