In his first major public appearance since nearly losing his job, Big Bird took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show to announce an augmented reality app. Big Bird’s Words lets kids use their parents’ phone to scan the world around them for printed words. Big Bird then helps them learn to read by sounding out the first letter. (“You found the word Milk! It starts with the letter M.”)
“We know that kids are entering kindergarten with a vocabulary gap,” said the Sesame Workshop Content Innovation Lab’s Dave Glauber during the unveiling, part of a keynote by Qualcomm. “With this app we can introduce kids to words wherever they are and give them an understanding of what those words mean.”
Big Bird’s Words, which goes on sale this summer, is the first of two apps coming out of a collaboration between Qualcomm and Sesame Street. The other is a music app called Abby’s Fairy Rock.
This was the first opening keynote by a mobile company at CES–a milestone. Global mobile revenues were $1.5 trillion in 2012, or two percent of world GDP. Which means that by the time your kids grow up, digital reality will no longer be preceded by the word augmented.