Mattel built a $300 Echo for kids

0 Posted by - 4th January 2017 - Technology

It’s late and you’re tired. Before you can knock off for the night. However, there’s one thing left to do: read your child a bedtime story. In Mattel’s world, you might not have to pick up a book, or even put on voices for their favorite characters. That’s because it’s working on an Echo-style speaker with an assistant called Aristotle. It’s built specifically for kids, offering games, facts and soothing sounds on demand. Most importantly, it has the smarts to recognize your little one’s less-than-perfect speech, and adapt as they get older and more curious about the wider world.

As Fast Company and Bloomberg reports, Aristotle has the voice of an upbeat twenty-something teacher. When your child is a toddler, a companion camera transforms the speaker into a smart home baby monitor, streaming an encrypted video feed to your smartphone. You can program the device to play relaxing sounds when they wake, glow with their favorite colors or start a quick, quiet game. As a parent, you can switch to ‘adult mode’ by summoning Amazon’s Alexa assistant — the second voice companion bundled into the speaker — and log wet diapers, feedings and the like. Amazon will then know when you’re running low on supplies and order new ones automatically.

Aristotle will then grow with you and your kid. It’ll take on the role of tutor, friend and babysitter, keeping it entertained and informed while you’re not around. If the little tyke is struggling with their homework, they’ll be able to ask questions much like Amazon’s Echo or the Google Home speaker. These questions are collected and interpreted by Microsoft, through Bing search smarts and Cortana conversational analysis. Aristotle is also meant for play, identifying and reacting to natural play. Mattel envisions toy cars that connect over NFC, or perhaps with object recognition; it’ll then make appropriate sounds when the tiny vehicle crashes into a wall or screeches around a bed post.

Aristotle isn’t flawless, however. You’ll need to read a paragraph of text with your child before it can recognize their voice correctly. It will also retail for $300 when it launches in June, a price that far exceeds Amazon and Google’s rival hardware.

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Source: Fast Company, Bloomberg via #CIO, #Technology