Home The Future of Tech According to Kids: Immersive, Intuitive and Surprisingly Down-to-Earth

The Future of Tech According to Kids: Immersive, Intuitive and Surprisingly Down-to-Earth

If we were to ask you to name one thing you wish your computer (or another Web-enabled device) could do, but doesn’t now, what would you say? How about the ability to “touch the things that are in the screen, to feel and move them.” That’s what 7-year-old Daniela* wants. Matthew, 6, wishes he could play 3D games on his computer, and Jenna, 7, would like a solar-powered laptop. Cristina, 12, thinks it’d be great to travel more – to experience new, far-away places with the help of virtual reality.

Understanding that kids are excellent innovators, Latitude Research in conjunction with ReadWriteWeb recently conducted a study asking children to ideate concepts for new computer and Web technologies – and the results are in.

Kim Gaskins is Director of Content Development at Latitude, an international research consultancy. Visit life-connected.com for other studies in Latitude’s open innovation series.

Download a PDF of the study summary. Part two of the results will be published tomorrow, July 8.

While it’s not too surprising that kids today think about digital technologies (and the experiences they enable) as a given, the study found that kids desire increasingly immersive content experiences, better integration of digital technology into physical objects, spaces and activities, and more intuitive interfaces – 37% of participants’ creations didn’t even bother with the traditional keyboard/mouse interface.

What’s more, our participants’ ideas weren’t just forward-thinking; they were also surprisingly down-to-earth, with only 4% of kids’ “future requests” being impossible demands for today’s developers (e.g. time-travel, teleportation, etc.).

“Future computers” – Natalie, Age 10

“We chose to use kids for this study because they’re closer to the problem at hand – closer to their core desires,” said Jessica Reinis, an analyst at Latitude who headed up the study.

“They’re not thinking within the confines of current market offerings or in terms of routine life situations; they’re thinking about what they’d like to do right now, without regard to what’s possible or what would be popular with other people. Those are questions that we explore more in adult innovation studies like The New Sharing Economy, but kids are able to tap into a more basic creativity that’s great for ideating on really broad questions like this.”

Kids today have different experiences with technology during a critical learning period than present adults did, which means they also have different understandings about what it can and should do. “Kids will figure out how to use whatever they get in front of, and that will become the framework inside of which they experience, critique, and create everything else,” said Geoff Barnes, Director of User Experience at Elliance. “I think that kids’ visions into what the future of technology will look like are highly collaborative with present-day, actual paradigm shifts, like the interaction paradigm shift of multi-touch.”

“The computer becomes 3 dimensional and, instead of a keyboard, it’s controlled by voice.” – Aisling, Age 11

Study Background

The study was comprised of 126 children, aged 12 and under, from across the globe. Here’s what we asked them:

“What would be really interesting or fun to do on your computer or the Internet that your computer
can’t do right now? Please draw a picture of what this activity looks like.”

Parents told us some basic facts about their child’s Internet usage and technology exposure, along with household demographic information, and submitted their child’s drawing.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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