Pitched somewhere between a smart baby monitor and an educational assistant for your kids, this new Echo-like speaker is going to offer a range of features including the ability to read bedtime stories, answer questions and give a more immersive experience to play time when combined with other future Mattel products.
Aristotle is purported to include an HD camera, Bluetooth speaker and internal lamp. With that in mind it’s easy to see that it’ll be able to do a lot more than the Amazon Echo.
For babies Aristotle could act as a monitor, providing soothing sounds and a comforting nightlight to ensure a peaceful slumber for your little one. Parents can apparently tweak these settings and program a sort of auto-soothing sequence when Aristotle senses an upset in the baby’s room.
For older children, Aristotle’s purpose is to "comfort, entertain, teach and learn" - answering questions, playing games, testing knowledge with trivia (possibly including use of the camera and flash cards) and more.
Privacy and functionality concerns
By all counts, it seems like Aristotle will be a powerful addition to your child’s bedroom, but how many parents will want artificial intelligence replacing them at bedtime?
There’s also concerns over privacy with Mattel’s last outing into Wi-Fi-enabled toys resulting in Barbie being hacked. This meant intruders could get access to audio recordings and even a live-feed from the microphone. With a camera included with Aristotle this could be even more concerning with the potential for 24/7 footage of a child’s bedroom falling into the wrong hands.
Mattel is promising stronger safeguards and encryption as well as parental control to allow adults to limit the use to specific times of day/night. So this might alleviate some concerns here.
We’ve also seen how the Amazon Echo struggles with understanding our children when they try to issue it commands, so how well Mattel’s product will handle this issue remains to be seen. Mattel have said that reading a paragraph of test text will be enough for Aristotle to learn the child’s voice, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s enough.
Aristotle is due to launch sometime in June 2017. Check back here for more details once we officially hear from Mattel.