Now that Barbie comes in all different shapes and sizes, her dream house is also getting with the times. The new fully connected Hello Barbie Dream House is Wi-Fi enabled so that kids can control playtime with voice commands, without being limited by a rigid set of pre-programmed options.
Mattel released Hello Barbie as the brand’s Wi-Fi enabled doll earlier this year, so it was only a matter of time before Internet of Things Barbie got her own smart home in the form of the Hello Barbie Dream House. Because the dream house processes voice commands through a high-powered cloud server using a Wi-Fi connection, the system can decipher more of kids’ crazy ideas and their variable speech patterns. In that sense, the “translation” technology works a lot like Siri on the iPhone or Cortana on Windows systems.
The advertised functionality of Hello Barbie Dream House includes cueing mood lighting with just a few words. Mentioning more complex commands like “getting ready for school” turns on the house’s bathroom lights and triggers running water sound effects from the shower. Kids can even use voice commands to bring the house elevator to the floor where Barbie is waiting. Of course, what would a Barbie Dream House be without “Party Mode” – flashing lights and fun music playing, with a staircase that transforms into a slide for quick access to the party (for the dolls, of course).
Hello Barbie Dream House is already raising eyebrows in much the same way Hello Barbie did, and it’s not necessarily good. Some parents are wary of putting open web access in the hands (and playrooms and bedrooms) of children, and some connected toys have already failed security tests. Nonetheless, Hello Barbie Dream House is expected to go on sale for $399 in fall of this year.