NEW YORK, Dec. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The ninth annual KAPi (Kids at Play Interactive) Award winners were announced today, recognizing the most innovative games, software, devices and apps for educating and entertaining today's digital children. The KAPi Award ceremony will take place at CES 2018 in Las Vegas on January 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Venetian Hotel, Level 4, Lando Room 4302.
More than 500 children's technology products, each released in 2017, were considered for the KAPi Awards program, which is presented by Living in Digital Times. The products were evaluated by an independent jury of industry and editorial experts under the direction of Warren Buckleitner, founder of Children's Technology Review, who looked for products that raised the bar for innovation and design excellence.
The 2018 KAPi Award winners are:
Best App (Younger Children)
Sago Mini World, Sago Mini
It took a small Canadian team of designers, many of them parents themselves, to create this safe, vibrant home for the very first tech users. The unique subscription model is commercial free, and packed with updated things to discover.
Best App (Older Children)
Messenger Kids, Facebook
Many have tried but few have succeeded to fulfill a family's desire to let their young children have access to messaging. After copious research and careful attention to privacy and permission, Facebook's powerful Messenger Kids will open a much-needed line of communication between children and parents. We applaud this type of leadership.
Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2, VTech
Our judges agreed: the Kidizoom 2017 smartwatch bests the competition in the kid's wearable category. There's no GPS for tracking, but the two cameras, color touch screen, motion/step counter and suite of games make this affordable peripheral an ideal first watch for any child. And it tells time.
Best Content Distribution
WOW in the World Podcast for Kids by Tinkercast on NPR
"Where does an astronaut poop?" NPR's Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas have the answer to this, and many other important questions in this podcast specifically designed to delight kids (and their parents).
Best AR/VR Application
Merge Cube, Merge VR
VR and AR apps and toys were easy to find this year. Tools like Apple's AR kit have created an endless stream of exciting new kids' products. Merge VR rises to the top by giving children a concrete prop that they can hold in their hands. We've seen kids lining up to try it out.
Best Maker Product
Circuit Cubes, Tenka Labs
Simplistic fun that turns a consumer into a creator right out of the box. Unlike the other maker kits that were released this year, Circuit Cubes is designed to play well with other brands of toys, from stuffed animals to Tinker Toys to LEGOs.
Beasts of Balance, Sensible Object
Jurors loved this clever balancing act (literally) between physical, stackable building parts and AR. Warning -- this game can get addicting.
Award for Innovation
Lenovo Star Wars Jedi Challenge, Lenovo
OK, let's admit it. We all want to have our own lightsaber. Lenovo has created a combination headset, app, beacon and light saber that comes close to pulling you right into your own battle.
Best Physical/Digital Merger
LEGO Boost, LEGO
Build one of five variations of a robot (or concoct your own) with this LEGOs kit, program it using a simple block-oriented language, and then enjoy your play session with your new interactive creation. This clever leveraging of the LEGO brand offers kids a seamless way to code, build and play.
Best Thing that Flies
Aura Drone with Glove Controller, KD Group
We love it when a toy makes feel like you have magical powers. This drone comes with a glove that turns your hand into a motion controller, making it super easy to pilot with just a flick of the wrist!
Vikas Gupta, Wonder Workshop
Vikas Gupta had a perfectly lovely life as the Head of Consumer Payments at Google, but his vision of creating playmate robots that would teach kids how to code was his passion. With Dot and Dash, a robotic duo, and the new Cue, that has emotional intelligence and personality, he's taught countless kids about the joys of coding.
Markus Persson: The Father of Minecraft
Since Minecraft's release in 2009 it's grown to be a worldwide phenomena. The simple block based world builder has gone on to become the backbone of curriculum in schools, after school and coding programs. Today, Microsoft owns Minecraft and continues to improve on it, but the basic bones remain unchanged, an endless world of innovation and creativity.
Honorable Mentions go to Elfkin for creating a personal robot that includes a voice activated messaging system that's safe for young children and Dynepic for iOkids, a woman and veteran owned company, creating an aggregated safe entertainment environment for kids.
"Kids' lives continue to be enriched by the digital world. 2017 will go down as the year that AR and VR began to be a mainstream part of kids' experience," said Robin Raskin, President and Founder of Living in Digital Times. "Coding everything from robots to IoT devices became child's play and companies doubled down on their commitment to winning the trust of parents and kids."
The judges for this year's KAPi Awards consisted of a panel of leading journalists and publishers.
- Warren Buckleitner, Editor, Children's Technology Review, and Chief Judge and Co-Producer of the KAPi Awards
- Chris Byrne, Editorial Director, TTPM
- Barbara Chamberlin, Media Productions & Learning Games Lab, New Mexico State University
- Mary Couzin, Founder, Chicago Toy and Game Group
- Amanda Gummer, Fundamentally Children.com
- David Kleeman, Dubit
- Dan Nessel, Dad Does.com
- Robin Raskin, Living in Digital Times
- Reyne Rice, Trends Specialist at the Toy Industry Association
- Mark Schlichting, President, Noodleworks; creator of Broderbund's Living Books
- Tonda Bunge Sellers, Living in Digital Times
About Living in Digital Times
Founded by veteran technology journalist Robin Raskin, Living in Digital Times brings together the most knowledgeable leaders and the latest innovations impacting both technology and lifestyle. It helps companies identify and act on emerging trends, create compelling company narratives, and do better business through strong network connections. Living in Digital Times produces technology conferences, exhibits and events at CES and other locations throughout the year by lifestyle verticals. Core brands include Digital Health Summit, Digital Money Forum, FitnessTech, Baby Tech, Kids@Play, Family Tech Summit, FamilyTech TV, Beauty Tech, Wearables and FashionWare runway show, Last Gadget Standing and the KAPi Awards. The company also works with various foundations and manages the Young Innovators to Watch awards recognizing student STEAM innovations. For more information, visit www.LivinginDigitalTimes.com and keep up with our latest news on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook.
About Children's Technology Review
Since 1993, Children's Technology Review has helped parents, teachers, librarians and publishers keep up to date on the latest products, by way of independent, descriptive reviews of children's interactive media products. The ad-free publication is available online at http://www.childrenstech.com.
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