Jooki keeps kids engaged without screens using NFC ToyTouch @ CES 2022 - Show Notes

Jooki keeps kids engaged without screens using NFC ToyTouch @ CES 2022

Tuesday Jan 18, 2022 (00:06:59)


Kids love video games, there's no doubt about that. However, a number of studies have shown that constant screen time can lead to developmental issues. It can cause issues with blurred reality, social interactions, and more. As additional information has become available, some people have worked hard to develop products that help engage kids with traditional-style toys and games without the need for screens. One such product is Jooki, a combination of toy and music without the screen.

What is Jooki?

Jooki combines toys and characters with music - all things that kids love. Kids can use the characters to choose music and stories from the Jooki player. Simply place the right character on the platform and the corresponding music or story will play. Each token and figurine has a square base so that kids can only place them on the speaker the correct way. This helps kids with matching while also incorporating sounds.

Parents have the ability to choose what is available to their kids. They can record audio, including stories, from themselves and their family to be played on the device. They can also choose to stream music from Spotify directly to the speaker. Then, simply match the character piece with the audio that they want to be played and Jooki is ready to go.

How does it work?

This year, the company introduced the second generation of Jooki speakers. The new model has been enhanced in several ways, including adding new, brighter character figurines and tokens, and more stylish buttons. The speaker also features 5 GB of internal memory and 8 hours of battery life, meaning that it can be used on the go without internet access for a long time. For when you want to give your kids the ability to stream content, the speaker also features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.

The speaker itself features a 360-degree speaker design, so multiple kids and other family members can sit together around the speaker to listen. This gives the ability for a parent or grandparent to sit with the child while a story is being read and follow along. You can even use it to monitor your child's sleep and nap times!

NFC technology and Muuselabs electronics keep kids away from screens with Jooki. Each character figurine and token has a unique identifier which, when in contact with the Jooki speaker, tells that device what audio to play. Some can be played without the need for internet access, like local stories. Others will require internet access, like music and podcasts from Spotify.


The Jooki generation 2 is available now in various kits. Prices start at $112.99 for a player with 2 standard tokens. The largest kit costs $179.99 for a player with 8 standard tokens and 5 figurines. There are currently 2 other sets available, as well. You can also purchase additional tokens and figurines. 6 tokens cost $24.99 and 5 figurines cost $34.99. To learn more about the product or to purchase one for your family, head to the company's website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.

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Scott Ertz

Episode Author

Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.


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Erin Hurst (00:07)

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Todd Cochrane (00:27)

So we want to welcome and I'm going to assume it's called Muuselab so that he pronounced it correctly. We got Christine Brendle here with the CEL, did I get that? I get it right.

Christopher Jordan (00:39)

Oh, Jooki.

Todd Cochrane (00:40)


Christopher Jordan (00:41)

What is Jooki? Explain it to us.

Christine Brendle (00:44)

Jooki is a smart speaker for kids. It connects to Wi-Fi and allows parents to share music or stories by associating them with small tokens and figurines. Then, once the association is done, it’s up to the kids to trigger what is playing on the speaker.

Todd Cochrane (01:06)

So are they music or activities? Or what is the programming in those? Okay. We find that a lot of customers have their phones. Oh. So, so you can actually pre-program these yourself isn't like you provided the programming, the parents do that? Gotcha. Well, that's, that's really, really cool. Are we still having technical difficulty to

Christopher Jordan (01:53)

We need to unmute Channel Four, please. There we go.

Todd Cochrane (01:58)

Okay, so go ahead. And then are these, Is this a new product? Or how long have you guys been?

Christine Brendle (02:03)

Yeah, it's a new product and we just won the CES Innovation Award for 2022 in personal audio. So we just picked up the award and I'm very pleased about that.

Christopher Jordan (02:13)

Interesting. Yeah. Are you all looking at any kind of stories, things like that, is it only MP3s that you upload.

Christine Brendle (02:22)

So you see we have these five characters. So you can imagine down the road for us adding a layer of content to the hardware, and that's obviously a direction. Right now we sell the hardware, and the user care is for parents to associate easily music or stories, mp3 or Spotify playlists. And so that brings a young child into the streaming world. And that's probably going to be his or her world.

Todd Cochrane (02:51)

Well, I tell you, the creativity here as a parent, and parents like control, but your kids consume, this makes a lot of sense to me. And the association of a character, maybe it's going to be a book that you've read, or because I could see parents that aren't home or that you maybe have a parent that's off someplace, they could actually program that as well. Can they do that online remotely, or do they have to be close to the device?

Christine Brendle (03:17)

No, they don't have to be close to the device when they do it. They need the app, and they need to be connected to Wi-Fi. But what's really, I think, quite essential, I mean, stories and music have been in the toolbox of parenting forever. And we know that this is a fabulous way for emotion to be passed on. So for father or grandfather to be sharing his special playlists with a young child and that young child to connect with that immediately. I think that that's really important. And so for parents who are busy, and they need to have a little bit of time, then they can trigger a story. Sure. And that child is going to be entertained, engaged with great content that the parents have bettered.

Christopher Jordan (04:02)

And even the fact of a grandparent could tell a story into their phone, send a voice memo and you could literally program that with stories that the grandparent is telling the child. Things like that.

Christine Brendle (04:13)

And we see that user cares a lot that grandparents prepare this special playlist for their grandchildren.

Christopher Jordan (04:20)

Now, do these devices have to be? Once they're programmed do you have to still be connected to the internet to use them?

Christine Brendle (04:26)

So if it is an mp3, you don't. If it is a Spotify playlist you do.

Christopher Jordan (04:31)


Christine Brendle (04:31)

And so the typically if the unit is going to be staying in the playroom for instance, then the connection to the Internet is there and the child will have no real understanding of whether this is an mp3 or a Spotify playlist. But when it gets into the car, for instance, or if it goes to the park, then the mp3 will trigger the Spotify playlist to enlarge.

Todd Cochrane (04:54)

So I guess the next question is the price point. Where can people find out about this?

Christine Brendle (05:00)

So it's on We sell e-commerce direct to consumers and in the US only, and the price point for the unit that comes with two tokens and the charging cable is $112.99.

Todd Cochrane (05:16)

So, it's You got in on one of those new top-level domains.

Christopher Jordan (05:23)

And how much are the individual tiles, individual characters?

Christine Brendle (05:28)

So a box of six tokens is about $24. A box of five figurines is about $30.

Christopher Jordan (05:35)

That is absolutely affordable. And for children's learning tools like that, that kind of stuff. It's that is an incredible amount of technology at a very reasonable price.

Christine Brendle (05:46)

And this will be reprogrammed as many times as you want. So this will grow up with your child as well.

Christopher Jordan (05:52)

Now, are these just like RFID fobs? Or do they require wireless charging, anything like that?

Christine Brendle (05:59)

No, they just as you said RFID and just NFC and that works.

Christopher Jordan (06:06)


Todd Cochrane (06:07)

Alright, well, we thank you for coming on and sharing this with us. And this is one thing about CES, it's not just adult stuff. It's stuff for the kids too, so runs the full gamut here.

Erin Hurst (06:22)

TPN CES 2022 coverage is executive produced by Michele Mendez. Technical Directors are Kurt Corless and Adam Barker. Associate producers are Nancy Ertz and Maurice McCoy. Interviews are edited by Jo Mini. Hosts are Marlo Anderson, Todd Cochrane, Scott Ertz, Christopher Jordan, Daniele Mendez, and Allante Sparks. Las Vegas studio provided by HC Productions. Remote studio provided by PLUGHITZ Productions. This has been Tech Podcasts Network Production, copyright 2022.

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