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Toy Fair 2016: Mattel Unveiled a Tech-enabled Dreamhouse


barbie house

Manhattan hosted a different kind of consumers event this week, as the biggest toy makers in the world got together to show off their latest products to the press and most importantly to buyers.

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A lot of the upcoming products presented at The Toy Fair 2016 take a spin on old toys, because how else can you reinvent “fun”? And as it was expected, some of the most interesting toys have been equipped with technology.

Even though consumers haven’t been that keep on adopting smart home technology – at least not on a large enough scale – Barbie now comes with an upgraded home. Mattel unveiled a tech-enabled Dreamhouse for its popular doll, and it doesn’t disappoint.

The kids have control to a lot of the elements included in the house, including the elevator, lights, music, and other appliances – all responding to voice commands.

At the price of $299 (ouch!), Barbie’s upgraded playhouse will soon join the Hello Barbie line of products. One of the earlier additions was the Hello Barbie herself, whose Wi-Fi connection has caused controversy among privacy advocates.

The Hello Barbie Dreamhouse is also Internet-connected and was developed in collaboration with ToyTalk, a startup which provided the Dreamhouse with its voice recognition technology.

Just like Siri or other voice assistants, the house is designed to take actions in response to kids’ voice commands. To start an interaction, the kids begin their command with “Hello Dreamhouse,” which means the house is always “eavesdropping” or listening, as Mattel puts it.

Barbie’s techie house comes with three pre-set modes that the kids can choose from: hangout mode, dance party mode, and fun house mode. Each of them offers a different music and lighting scheme, in addition to different responses to the kids’ commands.

If the children also use the Hello Dreamhouse mobile app, they can enable a fourth mode, which is all about customization. This companion app acts a lot like the ones used for real Internet-connected houses.

In addition, each room in the house has embedded floor switches, which means that whenever Barbie steps into any room, it comes to life (lamps turn on, the fireplace starts roaring and the chandelier starts spinning if you’re in “dance party mode”).

Some say that it’s the best time to be a kid. Faithful #90sKids however would argue that playing with rocks and sticks in the backyard was equally fun. But if you’re still willing to cough up $300 for Barbie’s party mansion, you’ll just have to wait until the fall release.
Image Source: Gizmodo


About Ariana Whitmore

ariana@thenextdigit.com'
She has been writing columns on consumer gadgets since 2010. Her areas of interests include smartphones, tablets, mobile OS and apps. She holds M.C.S. degree and working on her startup, which aims to solve IT support issues.

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