CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Kids won't do chores? Call in this mole for undercover parenting

It may look like just another toy, but this smartphone-controlled stuffed animal lets you communicate with kids in a unique way.

"Duda" is already a character on Korean kids TV. He may soon be making his worldwide debut if his Kickstarter campaign is successful. FriendLab

If you were a little kid, would you rather be told to clean up your room by your parents, or asked to do the task via a friendly looking stuffed animal? The South Korean creators of "Friend Duda," are wisely putting their money (and asking for yours) on the second scenario. They launched a Kickstarter campaign Monday, aiming to raise $124,000 by December 25.

Friend Duda is a stuffed animal based on a character in a children's show in Korea featuring an animated mole. While that might sound kind of creepy, Friend Duda is actually kind of cute looking (for one, he's yellow, not gray). What makes Duda truly special is the fact that he's got a voice box and microphone inside that can be used to broadcast messages between parents and kids.

Using a smartphone and an app that comes with Friend Duda, parents can record a message to their kids. That message is then transformed into Duda's voice and spoken by the stuffed animal. So, for example, if you were having a low self-esteem day, you could record "I think your mom and dad are the greatest people in the world, don't you Janey?" Duda would then speak that phrase to your kid and their response would then be broadcast back to your phone.

A second way to use Friend Duda is through stickers embedded with near-field communication, or NFC, chips. Each stuffed animal will come with five repositionable stickers. Using the app, parents can record different information for each sticker so that when Duda touches them, he'll say the message saved to that sticker. For example, you could put a sticker on your kid's chair and record a message that says, "Oh wow, Janey, we're having Brussels sprouts for dinner. Isn't that the best thing in the world?" When Janey taps Duda to the chair sticker he'll say the message, and Janey will eat all of her veggies. Right Janey?

One of the stickers lets your kid record their own voice, which can then be played back via Duda or the smartphone app. The Kickstarter video for Friend Duda shows a young girl putting a sticker on a painting that she made for her dad and embedding a birthday message on it.

So far, the campaign has raised over $12,000, which seems like a pretty good start for it's first few hours. If you want to get in on the Duda action, a $79 pledge gets you the stuffed animal along with five NFC stickers. The Duda's are expected to ship in May 2015, so until then, you're just going to have to get your kid to eat her food and clean her room the old fashioned way -- by yelling.