My son, Kevin, who is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur in the technology education space, is coming out of stealth mode with his brainchild -- an educational product of breathtaking vision. (I'm biased. But you can decide for yourself.)
His product is Chatterbox, the world's first build-it-yourself, program-it-yourself smart speaker for kids.
Chatterbox has been in development for the past year, and has been tested extensively by real kids and visionary teachers in Silicon Valley's best schools. (Kevin is formerly with Tynker and Piper. His Chatterbox team has built educational software and hardware products used by over 60 million people and 80 thousand schools worldwide.)
Chatterbox launches today; the Kickstarter starts Tuesday, April 30. (Early-bird discounts available at launch.)
Chatterbox is more or less like an Amazon Echo or Google Assistant smart speaker, but with six key differences:
Chatterbox is made out of cardboard. Kids build it themselves, so they understand what's inside a smart speaker.
Chatterbox only does the things that kids program it to do, so there's no manipulative "captology" by a corporation with a commercial agenda to make kids dependent or addicted.
Chatterbox never listens until kids press the big button on top. Kids don't get used to the idea of constant surveillance.
Chatterbox is private. No personal data is harvested or stored. (It's 100% COPPA compliant.)
Chatterbox is an open system designed to be understood; it turns kids into makers, builders and designers, not passive consumers. The more kids teach Chatterbox, the more they learn about engineering, problem solving, language construction and critical thinking.
Chatterbox is environmentally friendly. Every Chatterbox component is recyclable or renewable.
Using the easy-to-use LEGO-like Chatterbox Skill Builder, kids as young as seven can build unique skills to get the weather, ask questions, control lights or listen to music.
Most or all of the consumer technology in children's lives is designed for passive consumption, engineered to be addictive and distracting. Chatterbox is the opposite. It invites active engagement and non-stop learning.
One of the biggest problems with technology is screen addiction, which is extremely unhealthy for kids. Chatterbox gives kids an internet-connected platform without a screen.
Chatterbox will ship to consumers and schools in December and cost $179.99.
Please get involved and support Chatterbox. Let's fix the kids-and-technology problem!