Creative Kids Tackle the Future Tech Question

By July 08, 2010

Research and analysis group Latitude looked to children in their recent study to provide an unfettered view of what people see their devices doing for them in the future. Led by Jessica Reinis, the project asked kids under the ag

e of twelve a single question: “What would be really interesting or fun to do on your computer or the Internet that your computer canʼt do right now? Please draw a picture of what this activity looks like.”

While there were both variety and patterns in responses, fewer than expected were deemed impossible to tackle by developers today, like time-travel or teleporting. The rest fell into the realms of device interface, communication and creativity.

A high level of requests centered around the immersive potential of digital media - 38 percent more of this type of media content, in fact. An example of such content is three-dimensional functionality, which concerned ten percent of respondents. Other types of responses in this vein included devices that can create physical objects like food, or that can somehow bridge the digital and physical spaces.

Human- or personality-synthesis capabilities also won a large majority of inspiration, with 83 percent of kids wanting interactivity advances. Advances like "responsive virtual environments, 3D games, “homework help” computers, etc." were popular ideas.

Another popular theme is more direct interfaces - 37 percent of children had technology innovation dreams that did not include keyboards, mice or other traditional input devices. As alternatives, twelve percent incorporated touchscreens, eight percent favored visual controls, and four percent hope for telepathic connections. Half of respondents depicted themselves in their drawings, the device being thought of as an extension of oneself, according to Latitude.

Older kids were more concerned with social tech: 56 percent of ten-to-twelve year-olds contributed ideas in this category, such as ways to better connect not only with close friends and family, but to kids far across the globe.

Nearly one-third of proposed tools were meant to create something, be it a "a Web site, a game, a video to be shared, a physical object, etc." Kids selected creative pursuit a close second to gaming for favorite online activity.

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