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Dubai Future Foundation announces winners of the Smart Toys Competition 2.0

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Dubai Future Foundation in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced the winners of the second edition of the Smart Toys Competition, hosted by Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE).

The competition attracted 43 solutions developed by innovators, entrepreneurs, toy developers, and start-ups specialized in various technology sectors from 20 countries around the world.

The winning projects include Karbo in the Educational category, Kumiita in the Creative Play category, Kaibot in the Learn-to-Code category, Robotics Pro Kit in the Robotics category, Smart Teddy in the Smart Companion category, and Moflin in the Most Innovative category.

The Smart Toy Competition was developed in collaboration with the Generation AI project community in 2020. The project community is comprised of subject matter experts from the private, public, nonprofit and academic sectors. Through its first iteration last year, the Smart Toy Competition not only awarded companies who have developed ethical and responsible AI but also who have supported the World Economic Forum in developing governance criteria for smart toys that help companies design products that are not only fun but also ethical, responsible, and support children’s wellbeing and growth.

The judging panel and advisors included a group of international experts, including Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and Member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum at World Economic Forum ; Aswini Weereratne KC, Expert Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers; Helena Leurent, Director-General, Consumers International; Marc Dullaert, Founder and Chairman of KidsRights Foundation; Alisha Arora, AI Youth Council Member, World Economic Forum; Dr. Ronald Dahl, Director of the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, Julie Inman Grant, Australia eSafety Commissioner and, Smart Toy Competition Co-Chair.

His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, Deputy Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation and Smart Toy Competition Co-Chair, said during the opening speech of the award ceremony that the UAE invites all creative minds and global experts to join the UAE in designing the future and creating solutions to current and future challenges.

His Excellency said: “The Smart Toys Competition is a true embodiment of the importance of international partnerships in deploying advanced technologies to prepare future generations. Believing in the role of technology and innovation to create the future helps community members in developing their capabilities and achieving their aspirations in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

His Excellency also highlighted the importance of supporting initiatives aimed at enabling start-ups and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and projects, expand their scope of business, and continue to actively contribute to the development of various economic and future sectors., Smart Toy Competition Co-Chair and Member of the Judging Committee, said: “The Smart Toy Competition really kicked it up in Year 2, attracting very compelling and innovative entries from manufacturers across 20 countries. Based upon the high quality, functionality and interactivity of the finalists’ toys, parents and educators have even more excellent options for every age group across the Creative Play, Smart Companions, Educational, and Learn-To-Code categories.”

Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and Member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum, said: “We are pleased to partner with the C4IRUAE to organize the second edition of the Smart Toys Competition with the aim of protecting children from the negative effects of technology applications and preserving data privacy while learning and entertaining. This generation will grow up with devices that support AI, so the way children utilizing them now will be crucial success factor in designing the future we want for our children.”

Judging criteria
The winners were selected based on a set of 5 criteria including Fair, Inclusive, Responsible, Safe, and Transparent, set by WEF’s “Artificial Intelligence for Children” toolkit.

Interaction with smart toys
The Dubai Future Foundation hosted the finalists in a four-day workshop at the Museum of the Future, where students from local schools along with visiting young tourists to the Museum of the Future took part in the testing phase and were able to interact with the smart toys participating in the competition. They were able to learn about their capabilities in deploying artificial intelligence techniques to enhance the process of creative learning and social interaction in children and expand their knowledge.

Winners received a website badge indicating that the toys won the Smart Toys Competition, and the opportunity to participate in future initiatives launched by the World Economic Forum regarding smart toys and AI governance.

On the Digital Age: A Youth and Experts Perspective
The closing ceremony of the second edition of the Smart Toys Competition, which coincides with World Children’s Day, which falls on 20th November each year, included panel discussions on youth concerns in the digital age. The first panel witnessed the participation of Alisha Arora, AI Youth Council Member, World Economic Forum; Dr. Ahmed Al-Ali, Co-founding Partner of DeepOpinion; and Maryam Al Amiri and Shaher Tayfour, who are coding ambassadors of the UAE National Programme for Coders. The second session highlighted the importance of collaboration between technology companies and government regulatory entities to ensure the safety of children’s toys. Panellists in this session included Helena Laurent, Director-General, Consumers International; Marc Duellart, Founder and Chairman of KidsRights Foundation; Lina Jalouqa, Partnerships Manager at UNICEF Gulf Area Office; Maryam A. Hassani, Innovation Specialist at Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority.