If there were still any doubts about the coming ubiquity of intelligent, voice-activated digital assistants, Mattel's latest product should put them to rest. Standing in the midst of a number of Amazon Alexa-related products at CES 2017, Mattel's Aristotle is a kind of AI smart hub built just for kids that just happens to be powered in-part by Microsoft Cognitive Services and — soon — Cortana intelligence tech.
While Aristotle may draw comparisons to the Amazon Echo, Mattel has a specific purpose in mind for the smart hub, aimed at helping both parents and children (via Geekwire):
Unlike other voice activated, AI-driven connected home platforms, Aristotle is designed with a specific purpose and mission: to aid parents and use the most advanced AI-driven technology to make it easier for them to protect, develop, and nurture the most important asset in their home—their children.
The overall goal is to entertain, teach and comfort children as they develop, Mattel says. That means the Aristotle will be able to do things like help kids with homework or even automatically soothe detect and soothe crying babies with music. Aristotle also comes with a system of smart lights that include a "a night light, reading light, changing light, and multiple color lighting-specifically designed as a dynamic feedback system tied to the AI." Of course, the smart hub packs the usual array of IoT integrations as well, with Aristotle being able to interact with products from Wink, Wemo, Samsung Smart Things, Philips Hue, and more.
For Microsoft's part, it's pretty interesting to see third-party products leveraging Cortana's AI smarts. As the year wears on, we should see Cortana make its way in full to third-party products, including a Cortana-powered Harman Kardon speaker that was teased just before CES.
Aristotle is set to launch this summer as part of a $299 package that also includes a camera.
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