This was the year when coding became as important a kids’ skill as readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic. It’s the year augmented reality went mainstream thanks to Pokémon GO! and there were clever uses of everything from Play-Doh to labyrinths. Finally, it was the year when we recognized that physical and digital play go hand in hand.
The 2017 KAPi Awards winners are:
- Legend Pioneer: Seymour Papert. Dr. Papert passed away earlier this year, but his ideas and inventions live on. He transformed how millions of children around the world create and learn.
- Best App or Product for Younger Children: Kudos App by KUDOS. This app provides younger kids with a safe set of training wheels for entering the world of social media.
- Best App or Product for Older Children: Space by TinyBop. The Space app turns your child’s tablet into a working model of the solar system and playfully introduces ideas about everything from Saturn’s rings to relative sizes of the planets.
- Best “Maker” Spirit Toy or Service: SAM’s Curious Cars by SAM Labs. With this smart wireless construction set, you can create a myriad of moving, blinking, noise-making vehicles, programming them from your smartphone.
- Best Digital/Physical Bridge: Play-Doh Touch by Hasbro. Augment reality using well-loved, classic Play-Doh. Shape something, scan it with your smartphone and app, and watch your Play-Doh creations come to life on the screen.
- Robots: Cozmo by Anki. Cozmo wins the Mr. Personality of kid’s robots. Powered by advanced robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision, Cozmo’s sophisticated techniques come across as child’s play as he jokes, shows some attitude and demonstrates he’s his own “robot” when it comes to building and stacking cubes.
- Augmented Reality: Pokémon GO! by Niantic. Who would have imagined that everyone from tots to seniors would be getting out and combing the streets in search of Pikachu? Niantic’s deft combination of classic Pokémon, mapping geography, the smartphone camera and VR, gave us the family app of the year.
- Virtual Reality/Emerging Technology: Maze by Seedling. It all starts by building a real-world maze. Snap its photo, add some traps or walls, and it becomes a screen-based virtual reality adventure (choose an outer space or ancient ruins theme) game designed by you. Put on your cardboard glasses (included) and explore your creation.
- Educational (Learning Tool): Happy Atoms by Thames & Kosmos. Learn chemistry by making an atom from flexible rods and joiners. Hold your molecule up to a tablet where powerful software will use image recognition to identify and tell you about what you’ve created.
- Best Series: Tech Will Save Us by Technology Will Save Us. If you don’t have a fortune and you want some instant gratification, Tech Will Save Us offers a series of make-it-yourself kits. Whether it’s a plant watering meter, a wearable bracelet, a music synth or other, your first electronic experience is bound to be a winner thanks to this company’s attention to detail.
This year’s 15 jurors set the KAPi Awards apart from other award programs. Any juror can nominate a product (it doesn’t need to be entered to win), and there are no hidden fees or hooks.
The ceremony, emceed by Warren Buckleitner of Children’s Technology Review, and Robin Raskin and Tonda Bunge Sellers of Living in Digital Times, follows the Kids@Play/Family Tech Summit Friday, January 6, at Tech West (Venetian, Level 4, Lando 4301) at 5:30 PM.
For updates on the KAPi Awards, follow FamilyTech Summit on Twitter at @FamTechSummit, #KAPiAwards and #FamilyTech.
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