Californian start-up VersaMe has developed a wearable device that tracks toddlers' exposure to language and gives parents tips about boosting their child's IQ.
A lightweight, waterproof wearable, Starling works with an app to track the number of words the child says and hears each day (without recording voices, for the sake of privacy). Its aim is to remind parents to talk to their children, even when they can't talk back – it prompts them with word goals and activities to boost their child's learning.
VersaMe cites research that shows a correlation between the number of words a child is exposed to before turning four and their future "cognitive, social and emotional success". The start-up was inspired by the work of Anne Fernald, who runs the Language Learning Lab at Stanford's Center for Infant Studies.
The company ultimately wants to help engaged and disadvantaged parents keep track. It has partnered with the US non-profit Literacy Lab to distribute its wearables to those in need.
Starling has already raised more than 200% of its $30,000 goal on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. It is expected in stores in summer 2016 and will cost around $250.