Most girls born after 1960 have probably owned a Barbie and/or a Barbie toy set. It used to look something like this. Today, the Barbie franchise looks a lot different. The iconic toy is getting a 21st century makeover that doesn't include a new career with a coordinating outfit.
Today’s Barbie can literally have a conversation with you. It’s called Hello Barbie. Hello Barbie is expected to appear on store shelves in late 2015. This Barbie uses the child’s voice pattern and Wi-Fi to interact with the child. While this doll is a technological breakthrough, it’s causing intense debate.
Barbie's been through a lot in the past year — she saw a major decline in sales, caused quite a controversy when she took a role as a computer engineer, and was even re-imagined as "normal." But watch out world, Barbie is new and improved.
The new internet-connected doll from Mattel might just be a game changer in the playroom. Not only will she be able to learn and save kids' answers to her questions (such as their favorite colors and foods), but she'll use that information to have future conversations. And thanks to her location feature, she'll be able to chat with her "real-life pal" about where they are in the world.
So how does she do it? Her statement necklace is actually a speaker and microphone developed by speech-recognition company ToyTalk. They also created the programming for her speaking and listening capabilities. Granted, you'll need a Wi-Fi connection to really talk to her, but your kids can still play with her the old-fashioned way when she's offline — you know, with their imaginations.
Hello Barbie, who made her big debut at the New York Toy Fair, will hit shelves sometime this fall, retailing for $74.99.