Mattel’s Releases Smart Monitor, Electronic Assistant for Kids


Mattel has unveiled a high-tech electronic assistant for children featuring a camera, microphone and speakers, but some critics have already raised concerns over privacy for children using the device that has been called a smart baby monitor.

Mattel’s Aristotle, which is to be announced at the annual Consumer Electronics Show taking place this week in Las Vegas, has been equated to Amazon’s popular Echo device but modified for the needs of children. Aristotle is equipped with a camera, microphone and speakers that can connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the device can respond to children’s commands.

“It does everything Amazon Echo does … but it also has a huge list of child-specific things that it can do by voice,” David Pogue, tech critic for Yahoo Finance, said today on “Good Morning America.” “For example, if your baby wakes up in the night, it’ll play a lullaby and show a general light show in the hopes of lulling your kid back to sleep.”

“For toddlers, it comes with a little camera,” he said. “The toddler can show flashcards to it and it can identify what’s on the cards.”

The device can also play games with children, such as identifying animals by the sounds they make, Pogue said. The device is also designed to grow with your child.

“By the time you’ve got a tween, it will do homework help and answer questions like that,” Pogue said.

Like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s Siri, requests made to Aristotle will feed back to what Pogue described as the “mother ship company” — Amazon, Apple and Mattel for each respective device.

“Their computers process it and send it back to you,” Pogue said of the questions asked to the devices. “That’s inherently scary to some parents.”

The camera attached to the Aristotle, which will be released in June, raises another privacy concern for parents.

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