Parents @ Play: The art of science meets the science of art

Originally published in the Chicago Tribune

Anyone who loves or even just appreciates science will tell you that there’s something beautiful about it. At the same time, those who love or even just appreciate art, often admire the technique and scientific precision that can go into creating a masterpiece. This week we had a chance to experience several engaging products that blur the lines between art and science.

As far as we know, Augie is the first coding robot that (who?) comes with AR technology. What’s especially cool about Augie is that after introducing the basics of coding (using Blockly), he or she (it?) then grows with your child through six distinct progression-base modes. Your little programmer will soon have Augie dashing around your house, nimbly avoiding obstacles, spinning, and making sounds, all while stealthily stimulating your child’s imagination, critical thinking, logic, and problem-solving skills. The app is free, as are over 60 AR coding tutorials that follow the standards set by Code.org. For ages 5+. Under $95. https://www.pai.technology/augie-1/

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Augie the Coding Robot Featured on CBS News

http://www.cbs8.com/story/39013951/learning-through-play-stem-toys

SAN DIEGO – STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

While most science and technology curriculum that is taught in school today are focused on starting in 7th grade, Jeane Wong, CEO/ Founder, League of Extraordinary Scientists & Engineers (LXS), believes that children benefit from being taught this same curriculum starting as early as possible.

With this in mind and understanding the research, LXS is answering the call by bringing together a literal League of Scientists & Engineers with educators to make available “hands-on-science-ing” to Pre-K to 5th grade learners and in-classroom support for their educators.

Research from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center shows that kids are more excited to learn when they use a tablet or a toy, because it does not feel like forced learning.

Tablets and apps can also help enrich and improve a child’s ability to learn, because their educational experience will be deeper with a more interactive toy. The top STEM toys include:

  • Boolean Box (booleangirltech.com) is a self-contained computer engineering kit for girls (and boys) that encourages them to code, build, invent, and animate.
  • The Curiscope Virtuali-Tee (curiscope.com) is an Augmented Reality T-Shirt that allows children to learn about the human body — on a human body. Getting started is as simple as pointing your phone at the shirt and opening a portal to another reality – the world under your skin!
  • Augie (www.pai.technology) is the first premiere coding robot equipped with augmented reality technology. Developed to introduce children to coding language, it engages imagination and creativity while helping children further enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Circuit Conductor (www.pai.technology) teaches children about electricity, currents, and magnets through fun, imaginative Augmented Reality play. Use 12 different electrical function blocks and special insulated wires to build fun circuits and learn about electricity through the free app.
  • Easy-Macro (www.easy-macro.com) Makes your phone camera even better!  Easy-Macro is the simplest, most convenient and easiest to use macro lens available for smartphones. It’s 4x magnification gives your phone’s camera close-up powers that you never thought possible. 20% off with PROMO CODE: STEM.

For more information, visit the League of Extraordinary Scientists & Engineer’s website: science-ing.org.

5 Reasons Students Should Learn to Code

As featured in USA Today!

1. Technology is everywhere

Children attending K-12 were born into a digital world. Some say that computer literacy is as foundational as reading, writing and math. Teaching code not only prepares students for STEM careers, but gives them a better understanding of machines they will interact with the rest of their lives.

2. Programming exercises multiple areas of the brain

A 2014 study found that when people work with source-code, five brain regions are activated related to language processing, working memory and attention. While more research is needed, this indicates early computational thinking can mold multiple regions of the brain.

3. Diversity in STEM begins in PreK-6

In a study conducted by Bayer, more than 77 percent of female and underrepresented minority chemists said gender and race disparity in STEM is caused by lack of encouragement to pursue STEM at an early age. By targeting basic STEM skills like coding, schools can facilitate early interest in STEM careers.

4. The world needs computer scientists

While 71 percent of all new jobs in STEM are in computing according to Code.org, only eight percent of STEM graduates studied computer science. Today’s students could fill those gaps in the job market more easily if they learn coding at an early age.

5. Coding is creative

More than just a science, coding enables students to develop important personal abilities like their sense of creativity and self-expression. When developing code, students impact the world around them while fostering problem-solving skills. Engagement soars when they see real-world connections to lessons they’re learning.

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Become a Whiz with Cubetastic – Surviving a Teacher’s Salary

We were so honored to be featured on the awesome blog, “Surviving a Teacher’s Salary!” Check it out here: https://www.survivingateacherssalary.com/become-whiz-cube-tastic-pai-technology/

Remember that colorful cube most of us have had at least one of in our lifetime but most of us couldn’t actually do anything with it?! Sad to say I have never successfully completed a Rubik’s Cube – and not for lack of trying! Until I picked up my Cube-tastic! cube – then I had it solved in just about 1 minute! It combines this modern cube with a 3D augmented reality via free app that not only helps teach you how to solve your cube but also gives you challenges to work on!

Play & Learn with Cube-tastic by Pai Technology

In the summer we spend a lot of time on the road exploring the USA and Cube-tastic! is absolutely perfect for my entire family. My husband and I enjoy it as much as the kids do! And to be honest this is a GREAT product to use for quiet time in the classroom as well. It makes no noise, is extremely affordable (runs under $20), and not only encourages hand-eye coordination and memory skills but it’s great for helping to develop problem solving skills.

Play & Learn with Cube-tastic by Pai Technology

How do you play Cube-tastic!?

Buy your Cube-tastic! here (USE PROMO CODE Roadtrip for 15% OFF!) , then download the free app on the App Store or Google Play. The app walks you through how to learn and play with the cube! It will remind you to scramble up your cube, and then scan each color specified on the cube. Next it will walk you step by step exactly how to turn and twist the cube to solve it!

Play & Learn with Cube-tastic by Pai Technology

When I first started playing I began just randomly scrambling the cube then following the directions to solve it and timing myself. Now I scramble the cube, try to solve it myself, and then use the app to get the steps and complete the cube. It’s a great tactile and visual activity! You can also do specific challenges to solve in the app. Once solved it unlocks new combinations for endless play.

Play & Learn with Cube-tastic by Pai Technology

The cube is non-toxic and 100% BPA-free. Plus would you believe that the cube is biodegradable!? I LOVE the smooth feel of the cube and like the rounded edges so it’s not quite so boxy feeling. It’s a fantastic price and can be used in so many ways! It’s small enough to toss in your bag and travel with too!

Play & Learn with Cube-tastic by Pai Technology

The Cube-tastic! App is Compatible with:

iPhone 4 or newer
iPad 2 or newer
iPad Mini or newer
iPad Pro
Android smart phone 4.0.3 or newer

Pai Technology in PopSugar

Read the full article here: https://www.popsugar.com/moms/Unconventional-Parenting-Resolutions-2017-42877590

10 Eyebrow-Raising Parenting Resolutions to Try in 2017

As 2016 is coming to a close, parents are looking for ideas to add to their 2017 resolutions list. Our friends at YourTango share their thoughts on unconventional parenting resolutions.

Make 2017 the year of balance.

As the year ends and we prepare to start fresh, parents are looking back on what they can do differently. Traditional parenting tips have many positives attributes but sometimes, it’s the unconventional things you would never have thought to do that make all the difference.

Implementing these ten unconventional parenting techniques is the perfect way to start the new year.

By bypassing the traditional route, you can shake up your old routine, enjoy your kids more, and feel calm throughout the year. Finding this kind of balance is sure to make 2017 your best year yet.

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1. End the bedtime struggle . . . for good.

Bedtime is the only chance some parents get to relax before a new day begins. However, just as children are snuggled into bed, they realize that they need a glass of water. Then, of course, they will need to do a million other things that don’t include sleeping.

End this vicious cycle by giving them one “get-out-of-bed-free” card. By giving them the option to get out of bed, but only once, they will be forced to think about whether they really want to use up their one chance to get out of bed for the night.

2. Make sleeping in a reality.

Once you can get your kids to sleep, the next issue is getting them to stay in bed past 6am. On the weekends, it would be a dream to be able to sleep in.

Make this dream a reality by getting your kids their own alarm clock. There are many to choose from and you can set them so that your little one knows when it’s okay to wake everyone else up.

A cheaper option is to write their acceptable wake-up time next to a regular alarm clock then once the numbers match they know it’s time to get up.

3. Let your kids roam free.

The “Free Range Kids” movement is a relatively new way of looking at parenting. Basically, by giving your kids as much space as you’re comfortable with to roam free, you make your life easier and help them to build their confidence.

As always, make sure there are minimal risks involved and only allow them to wander away if you are comfortable.

4. Stop limiting screen time.

In the world of mom-shaming for technology overuse, this seems like the most unconventional advice yet. The idea behind unlimited screen time is that your children will eventually tire of using their tablets and television and limit themselves out of boredom.

Even if this plan doesn’t work out, it’s easy to put limits back on after giving it a good try. Better yet, new technology, like the line of guilt-free tech toys from Pai Technology, can actually encourage your children to learn and be creative.

Business.com — Four Businesses with Killer Branding

Read the full article here.

Killer Branding Example #2: Pai Technology

Pai Technology is an international company focused on the development of children three to 12 years old  As a brand that’s new to the U.S., they knew they needed to be really clear on their messaging in order to cut through the noise.

Amy Braun, the U.S. marketing director for Pai, says, “We’re competing against major education tech brands in the children’s tech toy space. We need a brand message that not only resonates with our audience but also communicates what we stand for, which is family values and child development.”

Pai Technology ended up settling on the slogan, ‘grow, develop and play. Its media kit really paints a picture in the first two sentences, “Imagine…technology that doesn’t tear your family apart, but instead brings you closer together. Imagine…technology that doesn’t interfere with your child’s education and development, but encourages it.”

With messaging like that, it’s no secret what the brand is all about.

AR Presence Strong at Toy Fair, But VR Interest Seems to Be Declining

http://www.mesalliance.org/2018/02/20/ar-presence-strong-toy-fair-vr-interest-seems-declining/

NEW YORK — Augmented reality (AR) continues to be incorporated into a large number of toys and games targeted at kids, but interest in standard virtual reality (VR) requiring headsets seems to be on the decline among toy makers, according to interviews the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) conducted at the annual American International Toy Fair Feb. 17-20.

Interest in artificial intelligence (AI), however, seems to be on the rise among companies making toys.

The incorporation of AR, VR and other technologies into toys was included by the Toy Industry Association (TIA) in its list of the top toy trends for 2017 that were announced at last year’s show. And TIA announced Feb. 18 at Toy Fair that it “expects to see more affordable and user-friendly virtual and augmented reality toys, interactive and buildable robots with new features” this year.

While the AR part of that prediction was underscored by our conversations with several Toy Fair exhibitors, the VR portion of the forecast was cast into some doubt by what most of the exhibitors we interviewed said.

In addition, one of the companies fielding VR products at the show last year – Seedling – wasn’t among the exhibitors this time. Uncle Milton, meanwhile, didn’t announce any new VR products at the show this year after touting several such items there in 2017.

Pai Technology

The main story at Pai Technology’s Toy Fair booth this time was Augie, a $199.99 coding robot for kids, equipped with AR technology, that was developed to introduce kids to computer coding language, according to the company. The robot also was designed to engage kids’ imagination and creativity while helping them to improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Pai said. Augie works in conjunction with an Android and iOS app.

Pai showed a prototype version of a coding robot at Toy Fair last year, but a finalized version of Augie was shown for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, Sherry Wu, the company’s global business strategy director, told MESA Feb. 17.

It’s already being sold by Amazon and 32 Barnes & Noble stores, she told us. Augie is also being sold at Barnesandnoble.com.

Pai is in talks with additional U.S. retailers to widen its availability, Wu said.

Also touted by Pai at Toy Fair was Circuit Conductor, a $69.99 educational kit, also featuring AR, that teaches kids about electricity, currents and magnets.

The company, which opened a Santa Monica, California, office in 2016, has positioned itself as a provider of AR STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) experiences. STEAM (often STEM, minus the art) has been a dominant theme at Toy Fair in recent years and that trend continued for 2018.

STEM Gadgets for kids still big at tech show CES despite concerns

Read the full article here: https://ph.news.yahoo.com/gadgets-kids-still-big-tech-show-despite-concerns-093605307.html

The timing may have been unfortunate following revived concerns of the dangers of too much technology for young children.

But as the debate swirled, exhibitors at the Las Vegas extravaganza sought to showcase devices aimed at health, education and entertainment for youngsters, including educational robots.

Pai Technology introduced its interactive storybooks for children, which use virtual reality and according to its website “encourages a love of reading” and offers “thoughtful stories.”

Amy Braun, marketing director for the group, acknowledged concerns about kids and technology but said these devices still have value.

“Technology is here to stay, and it’s important to expose our children to technology but in beneficial ways,” she said.

“We really focus on making sure that the time that we put it in front of our children is all about learning and development. And it’s not either or.”

Braun said parents must decide on appropriate limits for screen exposure and other technology usage.

Chinese startup Dragon Touch unveiled its colorful tablet computer aimed at kids between three and six years old, with educational apps and parental controls.

Dragon Touch’s Lei Guo said the tablets may be valuable but also suggested parents supervise their use.​

“I really don’t want my kids to spend too much time on the internet,” he said.

“So that’s why we also have the parent control mode, so that the parents can set a time, for example maybe 30 minutes per day.”

– Augmented reality toothbrush –

An augmented reality toothbrush meanwhile introduced by French startup Kolibree allows children to look at a smartphone or tablet screen to motivate and educate them about oral hygiene.

“With image analysis, the application detects the brushing motion,” Kolibree’s Leonie Williamson.

The device makes brushing a game, enabling kids to earn points by holding and using the toothbrush correctly.

Williamson said the toothbrush would not be a big contributor to too much screen time for kids: “It’s just three brushings of two minutes each day.”

The electronics show has long featured devices for children, and exhibitors typically plan their displays and products many months in advance.

But the show opened just amid fresh fears that too much technology may be harmful for children.

In the United States, the nonprofit group Common Sense Media found 95 percent of US households have a mobile device in the home. Screen time has been shifting, the group said, from television to mobile devices.

Earlier this week, two large shareholders urged Apple to study whether iPhones are proving addictive for children and if intensive use of the smartphones may be bad for their mental health.

The investors cited a recent study suggesting children are negatively distracted by digital technologies in the classroom.

Apple, which is not present at CES but whose system is used by many app developers, said in a statement it “has always looked out for kids, and we work hard to create powerful products that inspire, entertain, and educate children while also helping parents protect them online.”

At CES, Ahren Hoffmann of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, said determining how much technology to use for kids is “all about balance.”

“We want to make sure that our kids today are both getting outside and play, and that they are playing with traditional toys, that they’re playing board games, but they’re also using iPads and tech toys, and learning about coding and other things that are happening in the world around us today,” she told AFP at the show.

Augie featured on The Toy Insider!

Read the full article here: https://www.thetoyinsider.com/augie-augmented-reality-robot-review/.

PaiTechnology.Augie_

“The future is now Augie.

Augie Augmented Reality Robot, from Pai Technology, merges two popular trends in the toy aisles right now: coding and augmented reality (AR). The minibot is designed for preschool kids and introduces them to coding concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Augie is a tiny, sleek-moving robot with a circular screen that looks like an eye. The “eye” will flash images on its screen depending on the action it is performing, and the speakers on the side of the bot play sounds, helping Augie to come to life. It also has four wheels on its bottom, two of which rotate in all directions so that Augie can glide with the grace of a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

Once connected to the Augie app on a tablet or smart device, kids will get to dive into the many features that are available at their fingertips. There are six ways to play with Augie: Freeplay, Trailblaze, Coding Classroom, Coding Control Center, AR Adventures, and AR Coding.

When little ones want to put their coding skills to the test, they can try out one of the coding modes. The Coding Control Center lets kids feel strong and powerful as they build codes and commands for their tiny friend to follow. Coders can use the functions on the left side of the panel to control how Augie moves, what sounds it makes, and what it displays on its screen. Kids can easily edit and remove functions if they are not satisfied with the end result, and once they like what they have created, they can save the command and access it at any time. Kids will spend hours coding commands that send Augie in all direction in the kitchen, and then top it off with a barking noise that will fool even the slyest house dog.

Freeplay is an easier way for kids to interact with their smart friend. Using a smart device, kids can move Augie forward, backward, left, and right. They can even change the color of the lights that it emits, and play noises or record their own silly sounds for it to project. For even more fun, tilt the tablet and prepare to be amazed as Augie moves in the same direction. Trailblaze is a similar mode where kids draw a path for Augie to follow, and then add fun effects for it to display on its screen.

The AR Adventures combines the challenge of coding with the excitement of AR. During this mode of play, kids use the bottom control to play the game, and the touchscreen joystick to move Augie around and help him battle the enemy. Players help Augie release lasers and collect the AR coins as they improve their health and move through each level. Kids can play games such as Hide and Seek and Super Augie Maze, or even create unique games and control how it is played by dragging obstacles and setting time parameters.

When kids immerse themselves in Augie’s world, they’ll enter a universe that is full of critical thinking challenges disguised in cool technological functions and capabilities. Here at the toy Insider, we like to call that a win-win. 😉 “