Since its debut in the late 1950s, Mattel’s famous Barbie line of dolls enjoyed a massively successful run of popularity — even if it ruffled a few feathers along the way. Scrutiny be damned, Mattel finds itself back in the spotlight again this week as it announced a brand new Barbie experience called the Hello Barbie Hologram. Aside from its holographic effect, the device also reportedly features voice command compatibility similar to that of Amazon’s Echo or Google’s Home device.
Structurally, the Hello Barbie Hologram ditches the physical plastic models of old in favor of a larger Barbie-themed box featuring a small transparent screen. It is on this screen users have the ability to interact with the projected Barbie — like changing her appearance, asking her to dance, switching her outfit, etc. Where the Amazon Echo-like commands come into play concern the box’s ability to set alarms, add events to a virtual calendar, and read the upcoming weather forecast. Additionally, a familiar wake word of “Hello Barbie” brings the tiny hologram from her digital slumber.
Though while Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home tend to cause worry over their ability to record conversations, Mattel says the Hello Barbie Hologram won’t feature the option of saving any recordings to the company’s servers. Furthermore, the box itself utilizes 256-bit encryption while transmitting information to and from the cloud, which meets the Federal Trade Commission’s conditions set forth in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA). Because of this, parents have full access to any data collected by Mattel.
Currently, the Hello Barbie Hologram sits on display at Mattel’s American International Toy Fair booth, however, it is merely a mock-up of the eventual finished product. Mattel has not disclosed an exact price, though it did say to plans for it to run lower than $300. The Hello Barbie Hologram launches later in 2017.
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