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Dinosaurs have always been one of the favorite topics of children of all times, we have all been fascinated (maybe we still are) and we have owned at least one puppet. To confirm this statement there are also scientific bases that confirm that almost one child in three has an immeasurable interest in this subject. The academics of the University of Virginia have also found that in children interested in dinosaurs there is a higher threshold of attention and greater capacity to process information, mainly because they read a lot about it and try to deepen their knowledge to expand the possibilities of play. Today we present Dino, a dinosaur toy that helps you learn.

We don’t know if Dino‘s inventors were aware of these studies, but surely when they designed the shape of their smart toy, they chose well! The history of this dinosaur starts on Kickstarter where the Elemental Path company presents the CogniToys project in 2015. Dino, the name chosen for the first product, achieves a great success, far exceeding the amount requested. The basic idea is to use the voice recognition technique to create engaging conversations for children, in addition to developing a ‘character’ based on the user’s preferences or not.

The intelligence of this toy is obviously artificial, based on the IBM Watson system connected in the cloud via a wireless connection. This system is able to continuously learn from the answers received and, in addition to memorizing the vocal inputs, manages to process them and use in future conversations; the platform also keeps the toy hardware light thanks to the internet connection. The parent only needs to connect Dino to a wi-fi network and enter details about his child via an app (age, favorite color, etc.). From this moment on, the application will no longer be necessary and the toy will be able to interact alone with the child.

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The advantage of this system is that it potentially adapts to any age group and each child can talk differently with the toy. One of the key features of Dino is to set up a conversation with the user, this means that it is not limited only to answering a question, but it asks another in turn involving the child in a dialogue for educational purposes and based on appropriate contents. The cloud connection also allows, in addition to growing the dinosaur with its owner, to keep it updated and implement the toy based on user feedback, like an application.

For now Dino can sing songs, tell anecdotes, jokes, bedtime stories and talk about math, science, geography and words but the developers continue to update the software with new content. From 2015 to date, the toy has undergone various stages of updating, both formal and operational, and, like many projects born on the famous crowdfunding platform, has faced difficulties in the distribution and sales phase, leaving users without adequate assistance. This does not mean that Dino is a well-designed toy that certainly represents a reference for the use of artificial intelligence in toy design.

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