Electronics makers and mobile companies are adding new functions to smartphones that can give Japanese parents peace of mind as their children begin the new academic year in April.
Sharp launched new services this month that uses a small, robot-shaped smart phone. The “robot” is equipped with a camera so parents can monitor their homes remotely. The camera can also send images to parents’ smartphones when their children get home. If parents send messages via their smartphones, the “robot” device reads them aloud.
Miho Kagei, a senior Sharp official in charge of robot development, says she hopes the services will ease parents’ minds and encourage smooth communications between family members.
Low-cost mobile phone carrier Tone mobile rolled out a handset equipped with artificial intelligence last month. AI analyzes children’s activity patterns based on GPS information. It alerts parents when their children deviate from their usual routines. The phone also can also lock the children out of apps that might be dangerous.
Tone mobile President Atsuki Ishida says that almost all children use smartphones these days. He says he hopes AI will allow more flexibility in the way we keep track of our children.