photography by MATTEL
Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo are, at their core, more of a grown-up plaything than a true A.I.-powered personal assistant. Sure, they connect to the nascent Internet of Things, read the news, answer very focused questions, and offer a long list of whiz-bang features. But, let’s face it, voice assistants are currently more fun than they truly are useful.
A new and perhaps truly useful entry in the growing field of voice assistants, however, comes from an unexpected source: the toymaker Mattel. See, the company’s new Aristotle speaker-A.I.-and-camera combo won’t just answer burning questions and play music, it monitors and educates your kids.
Arriving June of this year, the handsome speaker tower and camera package runs on Microsoft’s Cortana, uses Bing, and does nifty things including read stories, answer basic educational questions, and supplant your baby monitor. Reports also suggest it will play soothing sounds when it notices your child is upset. Nice, that.
Reports suggest that the $300 package is designed to, “comfort, entertain, teach and learn.” All good things. What exactly kids will be learning and what exactly they will be teaching Aristotle is still up for grabs here, but there’s talk of the system monitoring when your child needs new diapers, tracking feeding habits, and much, much more. Demos suggest it’ll be tied to your phone through an app and that the company imagines a future where Aristotle may help your older kids with playtime through compatible toys. “Imagine what happens with Hot Wheels and Thomas the Train when you have this connected hub,” said one representative. Indeed, imagine.
For more on Aristotle, visit here.