Posts Tagged children

Smart collar to translate dogs’ thoughts

WhatsYapp Innovation

Ever wondered what your dog is saying?

Well it looks like communicating with your dog will no longer be isolated to scenes from the movies.

Fetch is creating the appropriately named “What’sYapp” – a smart collar and messaging app that tells dog owners what their pet is thinking based on their sounds, movements, and activities. Fetch hopes that “What’sYapp” will help to strengthen pet and owner relationship. The app can helping owners improve their behaviors and routines for their pet’s well-being by better identifying when their pet is stressed, hungry, anxious, etc.

“What’sYapp” is one of 3 “Petnology” innovations from Fetch; the other 2 are called “CatQuest”, an interactive cat playground, and “PetPounds”, which rewards children for proper pet-care behavior.

The use of these motion-sensored wearables to translate the inner thoughts of dogs is not only exciting for pets and their owners but also for researchers in our industry. We see this new step as not only an exciting way to better understand the interesting relationship that consumers have with their pets, but also an exciting way to also get into the heads of other hard to understand segments – like children (see this very adorable footage of a toddler playing hide-n-go seek with a Go Pro strapped to his head).

We look forward to seeing Fetch’s moves to push forward the future of pet technology.

9 Tips When Doing Research with Kids

Kid Children Research

Many people doubt the accuracy of children research, but fail to recognize that adults can also be subject to social desirability, persona bias, and a range of other issues that can distort their response.  But like all good insight work, it is the design of the methodology and the skill of the researcher that can compensate for these factors and yield deep, rich learnings to truly understand their consumer.

Kids are an important demographic to understand and tap into because they influence their parents’ buying decisions (from what breakfast to buy to what software to buy) and are the adult consumers of the future.

So what are some challenges and tips to keep in mind when researching kids under 9?

It is hard to ask direct questions to children and to maintain their focus, especially in professional and school-like settings.

  • Tip 1: Keep away from pen and paper. Using interactive stimuli delivered through mobile apps and tablets, or even traditional visualizers and artistic mediums like clay or crayons, can allow you to create interactive experiences that are enjoyable and leverage the creative focus of the children.
  • Tip 2: Keep activities to 45 minutes to 1 hour; the shorter, the better, and breaks are great.

Relevance/Reliability of Data
Kids want to ‘be right’ or do what they think adults will say is ‘right.’ When their parents are present, they try even harder to say what they think is expected.

  • Tip 3: Keep parents out of the room. Instead, have parents monitor from a double mirror or other channel, allowing them to comment and add interpretation to their kids’ behavior.
  • Tip 4: iPads and mobile phones are intuitive to this generation and can directly offer the questions and activities, removing the presence of the adult interviewer.
  • Tip 5: Show older children how to interview each other and allow them to conduct their own “friendship interviews”, allowing them to be more relaxed and to allow for more spontaneous dialogue and interactions.
  • Tip 6: New tools (like sensors) to observe real-time behavior can add another layer of useful data

Large Gaps in Cognitive/Social/Verbal Abilities
The cognitive and verbal abilities between even just a year in age vastly differ between children.

  • Tip 7: Tailor activities and questions specifically to each age group. Too young of a question, they might get bored or answer silly deliberately. Too old of a question, and they will try to sound like they know what they are talking about.
  • Tip 8: Do not clump different age groups together. If you try to clump 6-8 year olds in the same room, the younger children will feel intimidated, and the 8 year old children will feel insulted.
  • Tip 9: Create focus groups of 6 with children of the same age. 6 so it has enough for people to chime in, but not too much that it’s too roudy to handle or would require extra moderators.

What Insights Do Kids’ Drawings Reveal?


Surveys, questionnaires, polls and other forms of self-report are popular ways of gathering data for numerous reasons. They are a cost-effective, fast, and easy to distribute to large samples. However, there are many dangers in relying only on self-reporting data.

Respondents can both consciously and unconsciously be less than honest in order to uphold an aspirational image they have of themselves (in a survey, you may respond that you go to the gym 5 days a week, when in actuality you go to the gym twice a week); or respondents may answer on availability heuristic, the tendency for people to rely on immediate examples that come to mind when evaluating a specific topic (if the questionnaire asks if you are social, and you just went to a birthday party that day, you would be inclined to base your answer on the fact you went to a birthday party recently); or respondents might even interpret the question in different ways unrelated to the purpose of the inquiry.

Because of self-reporting’s unreliability, many researchers have experimented and developed new methods to obtain more accurate data, such as Roger Mills-Koonce from UNC-Chapel Hill. His team is exploring ways to understand children’s mental representations and interpersonal relationships within their family through pictures. In the study, researchers asked 6-year-old children to draw their families on a piece of paper and then they analyzed them. The study was done on 6 year olds because they were old enough to hold the crayons, yet young enough to have not yet internalize society’s idea of the “perfect” family.

It is not a new concept to interpret drawings, but the important part about Mills-Koonce’s work is their effort to make abstract data more reliable by developing a system of objective evaluation so that anyone can interpret the drawings similarly and arrive at the same conclusions.

At Antedote, we believe in leveraging the latest technology to develop new methods that will allow us to get to the heart of true insights. One of our latest tools for discovering fresh insights in crowded marketplaces (which had recently won the 2014 MRS Award for Best Innovation) allows us to bring order and sense to otherwise abstract data. We applaud and join the efforts of researchers like Mills-Koonce for pushing the industry forward with new innovative systems and approaches.