Mattel’s Aristotle Is A Voice-Activated Baby Monitor And Nanny
Mattel has introduced an AI voice-activated device made specifically to recognize the tones of a child
Did you know that the first baby monitor was invented in 1937? Known as the Radio Nurse, it came in the form of a large, metal microphone that could be plugged into an outlet in a nursery. It transmitted radio waves to a receiver in the parents’ room so they could keep watch on their children while they slept. It was revolutionary, and the tech only advanced from there. Now, baby monitors are smaller and made from plastic. Some baby monitors can even be downloaded as an app to your smartphone.
With the advancements in technology, it should be no surprise that expectations for the standard baby monitor have evolved as well, bringing us an even smarter version of a baby monitor. In fact, the Mattel Aristotle by Nabi could be considered a baby monitor, child entertainment center and personal nanny-assistant all in one.
Mattel’s Aristotle is your typical virtual assistant. It’s very much like Amazon’s Alexa, except it’s designed specifically for children. Instead of saying, “Alexa” to activate the device, a child can say, “Aristotle,” and it will come to life.
Aristotle is a friendly-looking artificial intelligence device that’s kid-safe. It’s red and white, rather than the sleek black of the Amazon Echo, making it more tailored for a nursery. It has a Wi-Fi enabled camera that can detect motion and identify objects. Parents can watch the video feed on their smartphones from another room, and even utter commands to help calm a crying or scared child.
Among the uses of this clever device include the ability to order baby toys and supplies, dim lights, play kids’ tunes and lullabies, act as a baby monitor, and tell jokes to a child. There are also several child-friendly learning assists, including quizzing toddler’s on their ABCs or teaching them their colors with flashing colored lights. It can also help children from kindergarten to 8th grade complete their homework or find age-appropriate entertainment.
Many have compared Aristotle to a nanny. Aristotle can detect a child’s cry and turn on a lullaby or adjust the lights to soothe the child. Parents can perform the same actions from the smartphone app.
The main purpose of the device according to the developers is to create a more child-friendly version of artificial intelligence devices. One of the biggest complaints from parents for the Amazon Echo and Google Home is that it’s too easy for kids to abuse the service. A child could easily ask the device to play media that a parent deems inappropriate, for example.
Another serious example of this abuse is a child accidentally ordering goods from Amazon. One Dallas mother and father reported that their daughter accidentally ordered an expensive dollhouse and gourmet cookies from Amazon by accident while playing tea party with her dolls.
Aristotle wouldn’t allow this to happen. It’s specifically designed to react to a child’s voice and thus turns off any ordering capabilities. It can actually detect the different idiosyncrasies that define a child’s voice between the more mature tones of an adult.
Parents are excited about the prospect of a device that can help them attend their children and keep their entertainment safe, and Mattel has tapped into a huge market. Right now, smart home technology is projected to be worth $83 billion by the end of the year, and it’s expected to reach $121.73 billion by 2022.
Not only has the Mattel Aristotle tapped into a popular market, but it’s also become one of the first successful AI “toys” specifically designed for children. Its primary competitors are Amazon Echo and Google Home, but it has managed to occupy a brand new space in the wireless assistant field through children. Because of this, it’s not unrealistic to assume households will own both an adult-centric device as well as the Aristotle.
The company insists that they aren’t trying to contend with the likes of Alexa, but rather introduce a new space. “We don’t compete with other voice-assistants or home automation devices,” Mattel Senior Marketing and Communications Manager Lisa Lee said to Investors.com. “If a household utilizes other smart home devices, Aristotle will be compatible with a growing number of other (Internet of Things) systems.”
Aside from finding a successful niche in AI, Mattel has attracted the attention of several third-party developers who want in on the device. Silk Labs, iHeartRadio, BabyCenter, FEN Learning, Little Pim, and Tipitap are seeking contracts with the device. If Mattel lands partnerships with any of these organizations, Aristotle will become an even better learning and teaching tool including parenting advice, music, general education, books, and games meant for children and parents specifically.
Aristotle will be available in June, retailing at $299 a pop.
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Melissa Gonzalez is the CEO and Founder of The Lionesque Group, which has produced over 100 pop-up retail experiences in New York City, LA, Austin, Puerto Rico and The Hamptons. The Lionesque Group guides clients throughout the entire lifecycle of the pop-up experience. Melissa is a regular guest on ABC News Radio where she discusses retail and marketing trends. She is also the author of The Pop-Up Paradigm: Building Human Connections in a Digital Age.
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