A Tag to Make a Cuddly Toy, Smart #CES2016

There are many questions and concerns about the long-term effects of the relationships infants and young children are developing with electronic gadgets. When the gadget starts to look like a cuddly toy, it must be particularly confusing for a young mind. Smarty Crew’s Oliba brings the parent back into the equation with their smart tag that attaches to a young one’s favorite stuff animal.

This isn’t any tag, however, as it tells stories and sings lullabies in the parent’s voice. It connects via Bluetooth Low Energy to an iOS or android app, where a parent can record a story, remotely control playback or track the location of the child’s favorite toy.

In the above interview, Marc Forster, co-founder of Smarty Crew, indicated this device would be available in the 2nd half of 2016. It looks like it won’t be quite ready as a stocking stuffer for Santa this year, as according to a November update sent to their crowd-source backers, shipments have slipped to July, 2017.

In that update, Oliba explains how part of their recent work has been with,

“a child psychiatrist and a speech therapist to select stories that perfectly fit each age range (from 0 to 5 years old). The goal is to suggest you the stories that best prepare your child for pre-school.”

Further, in their update, they emphasize the importance of security and how it has required additional work with data security experts to “guarantee the safety of the user profile and its contents (eg stories recorded by parents).” This is especially timely given reports that user data associated with some toys has been compromised.

And, although this author would have no use for Oliba now that his kids are well past the target age, it certainly would have been a relief back in the day for both child and parent for Oliba to occasionally read Are You My Mother.