Barbie has enjoyed tremendous success ever since the toy made its debut in the late 1950s — although it did manage to ruffle a few feathers along the way, especially when it comes to the doll's unrealistic body type. Barbie finds itself back in the spotlight again as Mattel is jumping into the A.I. bandwagon with the debut of the Hello Barbie Hologram at the New York Toy Fair this week.
Hello Barbie Hologram: How Does It Work?
A screen shows up on top of the holographic box and projects an image of Barbie. Once the kid says the magic words "Hello Barbie," this will bring the digital doll into life. The child can ask Barbie various questions, such as what the weather is like, or request her to switch outfits, set up an alarm, act as a nightlight, or give out reminders.
Privacy Issues On The New Barbie Toy
Since Barbie will work as a voice assistant, this will certainly raise privacy issues. Mattel says that, unlike the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the toy will not record and upload the conversations to its servers. The holo-box will work as a Bluetooth speaker. It will also use a 256-bit encryption while transmitting information to and from the cloud in order to meet the Federal Trade Commission's requirements in accordance to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).
Because of this rule, parents and guardians will be granted access to all the data the A.I. collects. Mattel expects to receive COPPA certification for the toy by the time it hits retail shelves this fall.
Other Updates Made To Barbie
This isn't Barbie's first venture into technology. Previous iterations include the Hello Barbie, a talking doll that uses a speech recognition and conversational intelligence technology in order to improve conversation over time. The Hello Barbie Dreamhouse responds to voice commands, such as requests to turn on the lights or open doors.
Currently, the Hello Barbie Hologram can be viewed at Mattel's booth at the New York Toy Fair. The company states that the toy being shown is still a prototype and will not be the finished product. Mattel did not disclose an exact price for the Hello Barbie Hologram, but it did say that it will be priced lower than $300.
The toy manufacturing company recommends the Hello Barbie Hologram for kids six years and older.