The Spot comes with a camera, a pico-projector, artificial intelligence, and the answer to every child’s perpetual string of “what”, “why”, and “how” questions about the world around them. Designed to be the magnifying glass to everything that makes up their immediate world, this handheld devices encourages creativity, promotes the asking of questions, and turns everyday imagery into stories to educate and fascinate children.
Spot fulfills the role of a toy, encyclopedia, and bedtime-storybook, all in a single handheld device. The camera allows children to capture objects, living things, and phenomena around them, while inbuilt A.I. helps children understand what they are by using optics, object recognition and machine learning. The in-built AI weaves explanations into storylike narratives, pushing the child to be empathetic, curious, and at the same time, get answers to every question they have, while machine learning helps pick up on the child’s interests and learning pace, adapting to the needs of each child. With prolonged use, Spot begins creating learning categories, and developing more and more complex age-appropriate story archetypes, supporting the child as they mature and grow. Spot even tests a child’s knowledge and problem-solving skills using ‘treasure hunts’ that can be performed with family members, encouraging collaboration as well as involving parents in the process of growth and discovery, melding toy, learning device, and parenting tool in one streamlined product. The Spot’s design combines tech and toy-design too, with a toyish form factor made up of simple geometric shapes, and the use of materials like wood and colorful plastic trims.
The rather noticeable lack of a screen comes with reason too. Spot fosters a natural form of interaction, getting children to learn by voice, rather than consume content by screens, icons, and apps. Introducing children to powerful technologies like object recognition and information dissemination, Spot takes the more natural route of being quite similar to the way a parent answers a child’s burgeoning questions about the world around them. By promoting curiosity and involvement, Spot battles the ‘Distraction Economy’ at a crucial stage of development. “Being ‘present’ and ‘in-the-moment’ is a skill that can be taught”, says Gadi Amit of New Deal Design, and Spot elicits excitement and joy in the little things in life, be it a bird, a beehive, or even a potted plant. At the end of the day, Spot ties together all the objects it identified into a unique narrative, turning them all into a bedtime story that the device projects onto the child’s wall via the pico-projector, reinforcing everything they saw and learnt during the day, as well as enchanting them with the possibility of seeing new things tomorrow!
The Spot is a New Deal Design in-house project and exists as a proof-of-concept. It is scheduled for a debut with an immersive presentation at New Deal Design during San Francisco Design Week.
Designer: New Deal Design