Although released in 2020 Moxie, the blue body, cartoon eye Moxie robot who wants to befriend your child might be one of the hot, high end toys of Christmas 2021. It currently retails at the manufacturer’s website for wallet-busting $799.
The companion robot was designed to support social, cognitive and emotional development in kids between five and ten. It does this via play based learning or lessons on things like turn-taking and eye contact. The company Emobided launched Moxie in 2020 at a much higher price point of $1,500, currently their website lists the regular price as $999 but currently reduced to $799. They are based in Pasadena, California.
Embodied has stated that their goal is to create robots that will benefit society. They say Moxie builds a relationship with children by teaching them how to label and navigate their emotions.
Moxie is equipped with microphones, sensors and cameras and has the benefit of expert technologist, and expert story tellers from Disney and the Jim Henson Company.
Time, in 2020, listed it as a one of the top inventions of the year.
According to the company, Moxie tries to rethink what human and machine interaction could be and they are rethinking these interactions by making Moxie socially and emotionally intelligent.
They believe inventions like Moxie could increase the emotional intelligence of soft skills that will make the next generation of children more balanced people as members of society.
Artificial intelligence has been a part of science fiction for years and has often been portrayed as anywhere from troubling to outright evil.
AI is not commonly associated with things like art and poetry, but that is the purpose of the very realistic human-like robot, Ai-Da, invented by Aidan Meller in Oxford, England. She spends her time creating poetry and visual art. She is the worlds first robot of her kind and publicly performed some of her poetry that she wrote using her AI. The poetry was in celebration of famous Italian poet Dante.
Ai-Da performed her poetry recital at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University as part of an exhibition marking Dante’s 700th death anniversary.
Ai-Da’s poem was a response to Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Ai-Da’s AI analyzed Dante’s writing patterns and vocabulary but also her own databank of words—between the two her AI created the final product.
Ai-Da’s creator, Meller, stated that her ability to imitate human writing is so incredible it is hard to know it wasn’t written by a human.
Ai-Da doesn’t only write poetry, she also is very capable of creating works of art. She made one of the Dante exhibition. It was inspired by her own experience in Egypt when security forces detained Ai-Da and Meller over security concerns over the cameras in her eyes, which they wanted to remove. The piece is titled “Eyes Wide Shut.”
The new indoor cycling craze (a la’ Peloton bikes) has now become available for young children; however, child development experts aren’t excited about it.
Well known toymaker Little Tikes attempted to mimic Peloton’s recent stationary bike success by building versions for children to enjoy alongside their parents, according to a statement by the toymaker.
Little Tikes’ Pelican stationary bike for kids 3-7 was released this summer. Like Pelotons it has a screen attached for watching videos. Pelotons come standard with a screen that displays exercise classes, intended to add a touch of socialization to home exercise. Pelotons cost $1,495 and then there is a monthly fee of $39 to view video classes.
Little Tikes stated they saw a way for kids to have fun with their parents and want to inspire an active and imagination filled lifestyle among kids.
Similar products have been tried before. Fisher-Price released a stationary bike for kids in 2017. It was available on Amazon, originally costing $150, it was later lowered to a $100 price tag and eventually discontinued. Neither company commented on why.
But child development experts aren’t having it. They say a stationary bicycle, especially one with a screen attached, is a step backward for what a bicycle can mean to child development. Kids riding a stationary bike lose the learning experiences that come from roaming their neighborhood on foot or on bike.
Basically, childhood development experts say that a stationary bike for kids cannot replace the social experiences they will have exploring their neighborhood with friends on a real bike. They claim kids need to interact in the real world to learn how to socialize and work out problems in real life.
In a somewhat surprising move trendy personal care brand Lush Cosmetics is quitting TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to draw attention to how these social media platforms can be damaging to people’s mental health, especially young people.
The accounts will be deactivated on Black Friday (6 Nov. 2021) when other retail brands will weaponize their marketing to win those holiday dollars from shoppers.
Lush, which has more than 900 locations worldwide and 240 in the United States and Canada stated that their social media channels will go dark until the platforms are make changes to protect users.
Lush is well known already as both supporting social causes like Black Lives Matter and environmental causes like sustainability and deforestation while initially gaining popularity among Millennials and Gen-Z for being a cruelty free and organic personal care company.
They will be giving up access to 659,000 Instagram followers, 275,000 Twitter followers and over 1 million Facebook followers.
Yet, this isn’t he first time they’ve tried quitting social media. In 2019 went dark on their UK accounts saying they no longer wished to fight social media algorithms and would rather speak directly to their customers.
Of course this new and worldwide black out of most of their social media accounts comes at a time when all social media has come under fire for contributing to both physical and mental health issues.
The company hopes their efforts will convince these platforms to enact better practices. Lush will continue to use its Twitter and YouTube account.