While it's likely not much of a surprise that people enjoy their smartphones, it may come as more of a surprise that kids are becoming increasingly enamored with the devices themselves. Thus, many parents find themselves looking for their phones and finding them in their kids' hands.
This comes with plenty of dangers in its own right, but that's something Yip Yap (News - Alert), Inc. is looking to fix with their new product, Pipsqueak, launched today on Kickstarter, the mobile funding site.
Yip Yap's Pipsqueak phone is geared toward children three years old and up, specifically designed to be affordable, durable and safe for those youths in the age group.
Created by the parents of four children, Michael and Angela Smith, the Pipsqueak was created as a result of when the Smiths three year old daughter Lilah returned Angela's smartphone, laden with jelly. Thus, she asked the question that launched Pipsqueak: "How hard would it be to make a Bluetooth phone for Lilah?"
The Pipsqueak connects via Bluetooth to another smartphone, allowing the tots to talk on their own phone, but uses the network that the other smartphone is connected to. Thus, making and receiving calls on the Pipsqueak is a matter determined by the parents, as they receive the calls first – or send them – via their own phones, and decide whether or not to connect the Pipsqueak.
But the Pipsqueak also has other functions more determined by the user, including the ability to serve as a walkie-talkie, as an MP3 player and as a voice recorder. The phone also boasts changeable faceplates, and the ability to add on charms and other decoration to make the Pipsqueak truly feel like the child's own device.
Image via Shutterstock
It even boasts a "wander alert," relaying a warning back to the main device when the Pipsqueak has gone more than 50 feet away.
Since Michael spent 14 years in the cellular industry, he had an idea of what would work and what wouldn't. So he and Angela settled in to develop Pipsqueak over the course of 20 months. Additionally, since Pipsqueak is a Bluetooth device, it also provides a note of protection against the potential long-term harm done by electromagnetic exposure – an issue especially for young children whose skulls aren't yet as dense as those of adults.
Bluetooth power output is less than .001 the strength of a standard smartphone, so improved safety for the younger users is clear and present here.
The Pipsqueak already has well over a hundred backers on Kickstarter, with 38 days to go and just over $8,300 realized out of a target goal of $187,545. Seeing this one clear the top is therefore a safe bet.
For parents of young children, having not only a way to protect children from smartphones, but a way for them to use one for their own good, is an idea that likely has a lot of appeal. While the device itself isn't available yet, those pledging at least $50 on Pipsqueak's Kickstarter will be able to get one of the Basic Pipsqueak Paks, which provides one of the devices when they become available, estimated to be around May 2013 if the Kickstarter goes as planned.
This is a smart idea that's likely going to get the attention of a lot of parents with young children out there, giving them a great way to not only better introduce their child to mobile devices, but do so simply, inexpensively and safely.
Edited by Braden Becker