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Young Explorer Computer Center Caters to Little Tykes

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Sometimes computers can be daunting to children, especially when they're up on a big desk. Now IBM and a division of Rubbermaid are teaming up to bring personal computing down to "kid size." WRAL OnLine reporter Tom Lawrence has more about the "Young Explorer".

You may have seen the colorful toys and furniture made by Little Tikes. Going a step further, the company teamed withIBMto produce Young Explorer. It's a self-contained computer learning center for schools and child care centers.

The idea was co-developed byRubbermaidand IBM in Research Triangle Park.

Listen toauorRealAudiofiles.Michele Riggs/IBM RTP:"We really feel it meets the needs of the child care providers since they had so much influence on the product early on."A full blown multi-media IBM computer sits in a locked compartment. The monitor is at child-eye level and the membrane key pad is "spill free".

Listen toauorRealAudiofiles.Laura Musarra/Little Tykes:"It has left and right hand side mouse pads and very importantly it has this dual seating so the children can work together."The $2,400 system includes educational and entertaining software which children can navigate easily.

Knowing how to use a computer is critical to education, even pre-school aged kids. That's why IBM and Rubbermaid teamed up for this project.

Young Explorer is designed for children ages three to seven. Little Tikes will market the center to schools, libraries, child and day care centers hoping children will learn and have fun.

Young Explorer is the first computer learning center of its kind and goes on sale this summer.


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