Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

'Mother' gadget seen at CES can help guide children, adults

By Alison Moore, Deseret News

Published: Thu, Jan. 9 1:05 p.m. MST

 The Mother device helps monitor home life.

The Mother device helps monitor home life.

(sen.se)

Children and teenagers often hope for the days of living on their own, but an upcoming gadget suggests sometimes adults want to return to the days of parental supervision.

The gadget, appropriately titled Mother, garnered attention at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas due to its intriguing design and proposition: Mother’s purpose is to act much like a parent by tracking the behavior of a household.

The Mother website repeatedly states, “Mother knows everything,” but the technological Mother tracks only the things users choose, from physical activity to how many people are in a house.

In the age of online privacy fears, the gadget understandably raises some concerns.

The article “10 new gadgets starring at CES” from the Belfast Telegraph says, “It checks that users have taken their medication, had the right amount of water to drink or slept enough hours. Mother or Big Brother?”

According to Mother’s website, all data from devices strictly belongs to the owner, who can delete all recorded data at any time.

Mother comes from Sen.se, a firm that focuses on data collection and data analysis. The Sen.se website states the company's mission is to “develop really smart systems allowing the creation of new services in all areas of everyday life.”

The one-pound, programmed “parent” has been compared in looks to a white, robotic Russian-nesting-doll. It works using “cookies,” or motion-tracking devices, to sense when an action has or hasn’t occurred.

Mother has some features, like checking teeth brushing and what time a child comes home at night, that can help parents watch over children, but many of Mother’s features help adults who might feel a void in the face of missing an at-home mom.

Rafi Haladijan, Mother's maker, explained to The Wall Street Journal that Mother is meant to hearken back to the parent figure that often helps motivate and watch over.

"We need a device that does all sort of things," Haladjian said. "The metaphor that matched this noble caring figure is the mother. She is not a nurse, a gardener or a cop – she is everything at the same time."

Similarly, the Mother website says the device, like most real-life parents, helps, "your safety, fitness, comfort and joy. ... She takes care of what matters to you today."

The Mother is scheduled to start shipping in the spring, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Alison Moore is a writer for the Faith and Family sections at DeseretNews.com. She is working toward a bachelor's degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism and a minor in editing at Brigham Young University. EMAIL: amoore@deseretdigital.com

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