Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Aristotle by Nabi: A Baby Monitor for the 21st Century

[Courtesy of cnet]

It's a baby monitor. It's a voice-activated smart assistant. It answers your questions, and maybe your kids' questions, too. It orders more diapers when you run out, and soothes babies back to sleep automatically. It plays with your kids. It could be the most exciting thing toymaker Mattel has ever produced.
It's called the Aristotle, and it's not just an Amazon Echo clone: According to interviews with BloombergFastCo Design and USA Today, the device is a fully-functioning Amazon Alexa assistant that can answer all the same adult questions and has all the same smart home capabilities -- but say "Aristotle" instead of "Alexa," and it can also summon a different voice assistant who can interact with your kids.
The voice-activated speaker also comes with a wireless camera that streams 256-bit encrypted video to your phone, an array of colorful LEDs, and special software some of which -- as a new parent myself -- sounds too good to be true.
Here are some of the additional things that Mattel claims the Aristotle's software will do, according to Bloomberg, FastCo Design and USA Today interviews:
  • Automatically recognize when a baby wakes up, and sooth them to sleep with a lullaby, white noise, a favorite song, or a night light
  • Log wet diapers and feedings via voice commands or a phone app
  • Automatically order more diapers and/or formula from Target, Babies R Us and other participating retailers
  • Actually recognize and answer young kids' questions after a brief voice recognition training session
  • Answer questions until your child falls asleep
  • Play guessing games with kids based on animal noises (say the name of the animal) or shapes held up to the camera (say the name of the shape), and light up with the correct answer
  • Read aloud from a selection of thousands of children's books, via partnerships
  • Recognize specially designed kids' toys with embedded NFC chips, or with its camera, and provide sound effects when kids play with them (an upcoming Hot Wheels racetrack was one example)
According to FastCo Design, the device should ship in June 2017 for about $300 (this roughly converts to £245 or AU$415). That's not cheap, but it could be a small price to pay for the convenience of an Echo, plus some extra sleep.
And if you don't have kids, keep in mind that Lenovo also just introduced a $129 Amazon Echo derivative (£105 or AU$179 converted) which could have a way better speaker.

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