Posted by: laughs4dads | April 1, 2010

News from the Family and Kids Exposition

Today I will forgo my usual ranting (and my usual posting schedule) and become a serious journalist, reporting from the Family and Kids Exposition in Cawker City, Kansas, home to the world’s largest ball of twine.

The Family and Kids Exposition is like the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, except with products for families and children (and a lot less press coverage). Also, Steve Jobs never shows up.

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you some of the more interesting new products on display here:

The Universal Child Lock. Instead of installing child locks on every single cabinet and closet door in your house, this one digital lock emits a magnetic pulse that prevents every door from opening without entering a passcode. You, I imagine, then have to remember the passcode, or say goodbye to that bottle of mouthwash forever.

You TV. Using automatic video editing software, parents can alter any character in a TV show or movie to look like them, or their children. The dialogue and the voices don’t change, just the appearance of the characters. I suppose you could even make The Terminator look like your grandmother.

The DVD Player Protector. This gadget prevents the insertion of anything but an actual DVD. So no more peanut butter in the disk drawer. (If you’re a bit late on your tech, there’s also a VCR version.)

Teen-B-Good. This was a little too Big Brothery for me, but here’s the deal. It’s a micro-GPS locator with a sensor that detects the ingestion of substances like alcohol, drugs or tobacco. Apparently, you’re supposed to sew it into your teen’s favorite article of clothing, like a jacket (at $2,999 a pop, you’re not likely to be sewing it into the whole wardrobe). A home monitor then alerts you when your teen is using. But, wait, that’s not even the best part. It gives you, the parent, the option of sending a small electric shock for negative behavioral reinforcement! The theory is that your child will learn to avoid substance abuse if every puff, sip and snort is accompanied by an oh, ouch and WTF. I would also think that his friends will learn to avoid the kid that has weird spasms every time he smokes a joint.

Extend-a-Shoe. For every parent who has lamented the short life span of an expensive pair of children’s shoes, these sneakers are made entirely of a breathable elastic material that (the makers say) will provide a perfect fit from size one to seven. Although I can’t imagine a kid actually liking a pair of shoes that long.

i-Shadow. In case you want to monitor your kid’s activities but want to stop short of electrocuting her, there is i-Shadow. You can buy it either as software for the computer or an app for a smart phone. It relays everything your child does on her phone or computer to your phone or computer, so you can follow her fascinating text conversations about Lady GaGa.

Right Lite. This was one of my favorites because it’s so old school. Remember those glow-in-the-dark stars kids used to have on their ceilings? These are exactly the same thing, except they emit germ-eradicating ultra-violet light to kill flu bugs and such.

Pod-Mobile. Another old school item. It looks like an old-fashioned crib mobile, with little animals that spin lowly around. Except it has a dock for an iPod Nano, so instead of hearing “You Are My Sunshine” constantly, you can provide your own playlist.

Anyway, those are my picks. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these products, you should truly be ashamed of yourself. You should also note the date of this post, and the acronym formed by “Family And Kids Exposition.” (However, Cawker City, Kansas is, in fact, home to the world’s biggest ball of twine.)

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