Toy maker Mattel is planning to release an internet-connected Barbie doll, capable of having two-way conversations with children.
The Hello Barbie doll will use a speech-recognition platform developed by ToyTalk. It will be able to tell jokes and stories, but also carry on conversations with kids. It can listen to the child’s conversation over time and adapt over time. If, for example, a child mentions a particular hobby, the doll could bring this up in future conversation.
The smart toy features a microphone, speaker and two tricolour LEDs, embedded in its necklace. Rechargeable batteries in its legs can be connected to an external wall-mounted charger. Hello Barbie requires a Wi-Fi connection, and Mattel says that it can provide an hour's worth of playtime when fully charged.
Director of communications for the British Toy and Hobby Association, Natasha Crookes, said that toys have to keep up with the expectations of children. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Mattel said that one of the most requested thing is a Barbie doll that kids can have a conversation with.
No release date has been set for Hello Barbie. The doll is expected to retail for $74.99.