Latitude and ReadWriteWeb recently published a 2-part results series on our open innovation study, “Children’s ‘Future Requests’ for Computers and the Internet,” which asked kids 6-12 years of age to ideate future Web technology concepts.

Latitude created this video to sum up the study’s key findings and big pathways for research, innovation, and the future of the Web:

Latitude 42 Study Findings: Where Else Will Kids Think to Put the Web in the World? from latddotcom on Vimeo.

The results discussion focused on the myriad ways in which kids are bringing digital into the physical world—to enhance interactions with everyday objects, spaces, and social activities. As the study’s lead analyst, Jessica Reinis, summed things up:

“Currently, we have the ‘iGeneration’ understanding of device as simply an extension of oneself—and we still think that’s pretty novel. But kids are showing us that the next step will be exactly the converse of that. It’ll be a shift from smartphones that can go anywhere to The Internet of Things which is everywhere.”

If there was any doubt that children are excellent innovators, some recent technology developments are corroborating kids’ projections into the digital future. For example, MIT’s Fluid Interfaces Group is working on a “food printer” that realizes a concept submitted by one of our study participants:

I’d like it if my computer could convert images or food and make them real.” — Joanna*, Age 10

Of course, MIT got a bit more sophisticated with its prototypes, but we were heartily impressed with the predictive power of our 6-12 year-old innovators:

“Each one [of the three concept designs] addresses a fundamental process that lies at the heart of cooking, namely the mixing of ingredients; the physical and chemical transformation of these ingredients into new compounds; and finally their modeling into aesthetically pleasing and delectable textures and shapes. Our hope is that these designs will provide a glimpse at the new aesthetic and cultural possibilities, which can be brought forth by a new, digital gastronomy.”

“Cornucopia: Concept Designs for a Digital Gastronomy,” MIT Media Lab

Latitude currently has other initiatives underway to extend its future technology ideation research with kids, including a “phase 2” of the current study. This iteration will also include children from across the globe; however, it will place a more concentrated focus on children in specific regions, including Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The aim of this second study is to investigate cross-cultural similarities and differences, and to tap into more diverse perspectives on Web-based innovation. (Check life-connected.com in the coming weeks for study-related news.)

*Name has been changed to protect the participant’s privacy.

This entry has been cross-posted to ReadWriteWeb.


Video created in collaboration with designomotion.

Header image courtesy of Lars Plougmann, (cc) some rights reserved.