A few months ago, the Internet was abuzz with the news of a Wi-Fi-connected Barbie that has Siri-like powers. Google was way ahead of Mattel, according to a patent the search engine giant filed three years ago.
StartUp, a legal technology firm, spotted the patent published on May 21, according to BBC. This technology could enable a stuffed animal to turn its head and listen to you before transmitting commands to other smart home devices. “Upon reception or a detection of a social cue, such as a movement and/or a spoken word or phrase, the anthropomorphic device may aim its gaze at the source of the social cue,” the patent specifies.
The patent dates back to February 2012, meaning Google has been thinking about creating these toys for quite some time. According to the patent, the toy would include a microphone, speakers, motors, and a camera. It would also have a Wi-Fi connection to your network, so it could control everything from your TV to your thermostat.
Once you provide a “social cue,” the toy would not only stare back but search your face to ensure that you’re making eye contact. “To express curiosity, it may tilt its head, furrow its brow, and/or scratch its head with an arm,” according to the patent. The document contains images of a teddy bear and rabbit, suggesting the toy could be an even more animated Teddy Ruxpin.
Now that the patent has been published, concerns have been raised over privacy pertaining to children, much like with the connected Barbie.
However, Google is playing the same card it typically uses in the case of patents. A spokeswoman for Google told the BBC that not all patents eventually mature into products and services. Hopefully someone at Google has seen Chucky.