When I was a kid, I had a lot of questions. Questions about animals, places, people, things, as all kids do. But sometimes parents don’t have enough time to answer the flurry of incessant questions from their kids. In engineer Huang Jinlong’s pitch video for a new device, Jinlong wants to fix that through technology. He wants to never let his kid down again. So he created Miraffe, an augmented reality “magic mirror” for kids.
Miraffe wants to teach kids the way of the world
The Miraffe, developed by Shenzen, China-based company Xiaoxi Technology, is a device with a smartphone-sized screen, edged inside of a Giraffe-shaped device. The neck is the stick-like grip, of course. Its purpose is simple: to help kids learn words and identify things from the outside world. Point the screen at a banana, and hopefully the Miraffe will repeat “banana” back. Point it at a coffee cup, and ideally the same will happen.
Despite being touted as the “world’s best object recognition software,” it isn’t perfect. According to Variety, Miraffe currently only has a 60 to 70 percent accuracy rate when identifying objects. In a recent Mashable video, product analyst Ray Wong puts Miraffe to the test. He achieves some pleasant responses, as well as some bewildering ones (such as bushes identified as “pot”).
Yet, Miraffe doesn’t rest as just an object recognition device. It also has augmented reality functions implemented, as well as video chat capabilities so that kids can always be in contact with their parents. Miraffe will ship with AR cards bundled alongside it. Similar to the Nintendo 3DS, digital and interactive creatures emerge through the cards as seen through the Miraffe’s lens. The AR cards serve as another way to teach young kids about the world in an intuitive playful way, whether it’s about a zebra or other creature.
Technology’s expensive. In most cases, it’s not really for kids. Miraffe works against this expectation, bringing hand-held encyclopedia-esque technology into the hands of eager kids everywhere. Miraffe wants to teach kids the way of the world in the simplest, most accessible way possible—through a toy.