Last night I went to the Wired Audi Innovation Awards at Victoria House in London’s Bloomsbury Square. It was a great night with some amazingly interesting technology showcased. I particularly liked some of the educational uses of technology, particularly Kaspar the robot (pictured below).
Although he may look a bit like Chucky from the terrifying Child’s Play films, his look is deliberate. Developed at the University of Hertfordshire, Kaspar was found to be the ideal design for children with autism who are learning to interact with people.
Before developers created the robot, they even recruited a mime artist from London’s Covent Garden to model various guises to see how the children reacted. Apparently they found that a ‘simplified’ human look was the most appealing to children with autism.
Another interesting technology project for children came from Little Inventors. Simply put, it’s a project that turns the amazingly creative ideas of children into reality. At the Wired Audi Innovation Awards last night there were several ideas from Sunderland school children as young as 6.
I particularly liked the high five machine (see the original drawing below) which at the press of a button gives you a High Five. It’s been designed using a mould of the child’s actual hand (Oliver, aged 6) and is for times when there isn’t anyone around to give you a high five if you achieve something really good. Isn’t that sweet?
Another idea from one of the children was the War Avoider which lifts your house up into the air on big metal stilts in the event of a war or possibly even a flood! It also comes with a big invisibility blanket so your house can’t be seen by people wanting to do you harm.
You can see my interview with Little Inventors’ Chief Educator Katherine Mengardon in the YouTube video below (apologies for the sound, it was very noisy).