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Mattel made an Amazon Echo for kids

by Brandon Russell | January 3, 2017January 3, 2017 12:00 pm PDT


The Echo is a brilliant smart home speaker capable of myriad things. But it’s very much tailored to adults who want to control their lights and set timers. Mattel’s new speaker, named”Aristotle,” does that while taking a unique slant: What if the Echo was designed with children and toddlers in mind? It’s not as weird as it sounds.

According to Fast Company, which spoke with Mattel about Aristotle, the smart home monitor is capable of understanding toddler’s (and up), something Amazon’s Alexa apparently struggles with. That means your kid can ask Aristotle questions after going through personal voice training.

Beyond soothing a baby or answering questions from a curious toddler, Mattel is designing the device for play. Paired with the speaker’s camera, Aristotle will apparently be able to recognize other Mattel toys. That’s one of many scenarios Mattel has dreamt up.

“Imagine what happens with Hot Wheels and Thomas the Train when you have this connected hub,” Robb Fujioka, senior vice president, chief products officer at Mattel said in an interview with Fast Company. “Do you hear sound effects? Can you have greater interactions?”

Mattel is aware of the privacy concerns

Mattel says Aristotle and its internet-connected companion camera will feature 256bit encryption on all transmissions to Aristotle’s services. Internal data is also COPAA and HIPAA compliant, Mattel told Fast Company.

With a launch set for June, Mattel is announcing the device so far in advance in the hopes that an entire ecosystem is built around Aristotle. The platform is open to third-party developers, with 500 partners already on-board to build toys and apps.

In fact, one of the biggest deals Mattel will have at launch is support for thousands of children’s books, so Aristotle will be able to read stories while projecting the book’s art onto a wall or ceiling, Fast Company said.

Many of Aristotle’s capabilities sound theoretical at the moment, but Mattel appears confident enough to start sharing details. Aristotle is set to launch this June for $300.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...