Think Artificial Intelligence (AI) and you may be conjuring up images of incredibly powerful software that at some point in the future will transform the way we live.
AI use is, however, pretty widespread already and occasionally it crops up in the most unlikely of places, like the playroom.
We have noted a recent trend of apps and products that use AI to help kids play more creatively. Here are just a few examples.
It’s a parent’s nightmare. You have an expectant child, a massive pile of LEGO and not a clue what to build next.
Fortunately a very smart app has come to the rescue. Brickit, which launched last year, uses Artificial Intelligence to not only tell you which bricks you have but also makes suggestions as to what you can build.
Users simply take a picture and the app’s AI does all the identifying and suggesting.
The company has just debuted a new version with a feature called Finder. This helps users build their creations by identifying the precise location of bricks within a pile of bricks, significantly simplifying things.
Another new feature is that users can now share designs. They can submit their own creations; Brickit then transforms them into instructions and makes them available to Brickit users around the world.
This is a very smart app that uses AI to take your kids’ analogue drawings to another level.
Essentially it is an online tool that takes the images your kids have drawn and then harnesses machine learning to colourise their work. Users can draw within a tool or, even better, upload their own sketches. The results are often pretty amazing.
The company’s origin is Asian, so not too surprisingly there are a lot of Anime and Manga images on the site as inspiration
This is the software for kids who want to get experimental with their images. It bills itself as a mash up of human creativity and AI-driven software which delivers the ultimate in human/machine creativity.
The Artbreeder site hosts thousands of images which it invites the user to mix together with the aim of creating stunning and sometimes bizarre new ones. It enables users to generate and modify images of faces, landscapes, and paintings, among other categories. The new variations can be created via tweaking sliders on an image’s page, known as “genes”, which in the “Portraits” model can range from colour balance to gender, facial hair, and glasses.
Images can also be “crossbred” with other publicly viewable images from the database, using a slider to control how much of each image should influence the results.
It is hugely entertaining and highly addictive.Luca & Friends
A recent addition to the pool of AI powered apps aimed at kids, Luca & Friends uses AI technology to get kids moving through fun, immersive educational games.
Designed for kids ages 4-8, the app harnesses AI to provide an interactive learning experience in which players play games by moving to select the right answers.
Using basic movements and following simple directions, players might stretch or jump in order to “touch” or “catch” the right answers, helping them build strength, endurance, coordination and flexibility while practising English and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills.
The app is built around the Luca & Friends story which centres on a “galaxy far, far away” where Prince Luca and his alien friends Pumkey, Digby, and Mighty Coca, embark on a mission to save Earth from hate, fighting and hurt. The characters then appear in the app to connect kids to the exciting worlds of learning and movement.
It is available for both iPhone and Android.