Tech In Toyland

Fast Company|May 2017

Tech In Toyland

Mattel’s latest toy is a voice-activated speaker with an AI tailor-made for kids.

Mark Wilson

“Okay, Google, how fast do lions run?” yelled my toddler to our new Google Home smart speaker. “Okay, Google, how far is our moon?” The voice assistant had understood me perfectly moments earlier, but it couldn’t process a single question asked by my son’s higher-pitched, less articulated voice. “She doesn’t help!” he lamented with a frown.

My son’s disappointment is the exact problem that Mattel believes it can fix with Aristotle, a $349 voice activated speaker launching in May that functions like Google Home or Amazon Echo devices. But rather than rule the entire house, Aristotle is built to live in a child’s room—and answer a child’s questions. In this most intimate of spaces, Aristotle is designed to be far more specific than the generic voice assistants of today: a nanny, friend, and tutor, equally able to soothe a newborn and aid a tween with foreign-language homework. It’s an AI to help raise your child.

“We tried to solve the fundamental problem of most baby products, which is they don’t grow with you,” says Robb Fujioka, senior vice president and chief products officer at Mattel. “We spent a lot of time investing in how it would age.”

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May 2017