Barbie gets a smart home and a drone, proves she’s still better than you
When Mattel decided it was time Barbie joined the 21st century, it really wasn’t joking around. Sure she may come in all shapes and sizes now, but let's focus on what’s really important: her stuff.
Barbie’s Dream House is a cultural icon (see Toy Story for reference) but last Saturday at the 2016 International Toy Fair in New York City, Mattel released its new Hello Dream House, a high-tech take on Barbie's signature home.
The upgraded dream house is Wi-Fi enabled and connects with an app. It includes voice-recognition software, allowing kids to talk directly to the home. Voice commands can run the elevator, turn on the virtual oven and put the house in party mode (a must-have feature).
The smart features work by touch as well as voice. By pressing a button built into the floor of each room, the region “wakes up” the area so it knows the room is in use (e.g., the fireplace will turn on in the living room).
Similar to Philips Hue smart lights, owners can customize the shade and colors of the house's lighting.
In a demo showed to Mashable, the voice-recognition software — powered by tech from company Toy Talk — worked with requests given by a spokesperson. There are specific lines of dialogue the house can understand and Mattel said the dream house would get smarter over time.
Barbie is also getting a drone.
The Star Light Adventure RC Hoverboard RC drone is controlled via remote control and will “hover” Barbie through the air.
Last year, Mattel introduced Hello Barbie, a voice-activated doll that allows kids to converse with their Barbie. The doll came under fire after security researchers warned that the toy could be used as a surveillance device by hackers to spy on children.
The Hello Dream House and hoverboard will come out in fall 2016. The Dream House will retail for $299 and the Hoverboard RC drone will retail for $59.99.