The Good Starling benefits from a unique vocabulary-tracking concept and promising technology.
The Bad There aren't enough features to justify the high price.
The Bottom Line I love what Starling is trying to do, and with some added features, it could be a great gadget for many parents. The problem is, the device boils down to a $200 reminder to talk to your kid, without enough sophistication to justify the price.
Starling could encourage early language development in children
Stanford psychologists have spent years tracking the effects of verbally engaging infants and toddlers. Kids who get consistent interaction and those who don't are divided by a so-called language gap. This gap in speech and comprehension is evident in children as young as 18 months, and by the time kids enter kindergarten, there can be as much as a 2-year developmental disparity.
Enter Starling by VersaMe: a $200 gadget that aims to close that gap. Starling clips to your child's clothes and tracks how many words they hear each day -- a good indicator of later success. On the iOS app (an Android app is on the way), you can follow your hourly, daily, weekly and monthly patterns of interaction, and also receive notifications suggesting activities to increase it.
I love the technology behind Starling, and I'm excited for its future. But until it develops further, Starling will just feel like a $200 reminder to talk to your child.
I've seen lots of baby tech products at CES. I'm not buying -- yet
Commentary: Parenting is just the latest place where tech is invading our lives. Name a product, and there's a "smart" version, particularly at CES 2017. But few are must-haves.