It's late, and you're tired. Before you can knock off for the night, however, there's one thing left to do: read your child a bedtime story. In Mattel's world, you might not have to pick up a book or even put on voices for their favorite characters. That's because it's working on an Echo-style speaker with an assistant called Aristotle. It's built specifically for kids, offering games, facts and soothing sounds on demand. Most importantly, it has the smarts to recognize your little one's less-than-perfect speech and adapt as she gets older and more curious about the wider world.
As Fast Company and Bloomberg report, Aristotle has the voice of an upbeat, twentysomething teacher. When your child is a toddler, a companion camera transforms the speaker into a smart home baby monitor, streaming an encrypted video feed to your smartphone. You can program the device to play relaxing sounds when she wakes, glow with her favorite colors or start a quick, quiet game. As a parent, you can switch to adult mode by summoning Amazon's Alexa assistant -- the second voice companion bundled into the speaker -- and log wet diapers, feedings and the like. Amazon will then know when you're running low on supplies and order new ones automatically.
Aristotle will grow with you and your kid. It'll take on the role of tutor, friend and babysitter, keeping her entertained and informed while you're not around. If the little tyke is struggling with her homework, she'll be able to ask questions much like Amazon's Echo or the Google Home speaker. These questions are collected and interpreted by Microsoft, through Bing search smarts and Cortana conversational analysis. Aristotle is also meant for play, identifying and reacting to natural play. Mattel envisions toy cars that connect over NFC or perhaps with object recognition; it'll then make appropriate sounds when the tiny vehicle crashes into a wall or screeches around a bed post.
Aristotle isn't flawless, however. You'll need to read a paragraph of text with your child before it can recognize her voice correctly. It will also retail for $300 when it launches in June, a price that far exceeds Amazon and Google's rival hardware.
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