Google Inc. is ambitious. It has been at the helm of software development, the latest being Brillo for low-powered IoT. Along with this, the California tech company has set its eyes on a relatively new and younger market, literally and figuratively. The company has filed a patent to acquire rights for “an anthropomorphic device may be a doll or toy that resembles a human, an animal, a mythical creature or an inanimate object.” This device may double up as a smart remote control with human-like characteristics. The corresponding image with the document is of a teddy bear and creepy looking rabbit. The patent document further states that the toy will be attractive enough for kids and upon detecting a gesture or word; it can fix its gaze to the source of origin. The voice will also be mapped to social media devices like thermostats and light bulbs to respond to the cues.
The dolls and teddy bears that were used to be cute and oh-so-adorable till now are going the tech way. With the microphones, speakers and motors installed in them, these take the route of interactive e-books and CDs available for kids. Parents might have problem with the idea of exposing a toy such as teddy bear to technology and storing the information away to some distant cloud.
Also, it is not the first time Google has some quirks up its sleeves. We keep hearing about driverless cars and cancer detectable pills now and then. With the smart feature-rich teddy bear, Google takes Amazon Echo a bit further.
The patent was filed in 2012 and as we write this, the patent is now approved. However, before the company starts pushing the envelope on smart toys, it should ease parents on privacy concerns especially when Google had faced flak for passing on the users’ details to the U.S. government.
Additionally, Engadget reports that the idea was spotted by a lawyer who referred to this patent as something that belonged to horror movies. The leading publication also suggests remedy to “de-creep” concerned parents by limiting the recording capabilities to only voice commands as it does through ‘Ok Google’ services.
Though, Google has also told BBC, any expansion on the patent is still uncertain as some of the idea could turn into tangible products while some might not.
You can read the full patent document here.
The idea was first published on Hot Hardware.