Google patents kids toys with hidden microphones, cameras

Brittany A. Roston - May 22, 2015, 3:55 pm CDT
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Google patents kids toys with hidden microphones, cameras

If your laptop’s webcam staring back at you gives you the willies, Google‘s newly patented connected kids toys will bring a whole new level of creepiness. The patent details “an anthropomorphic device, perhaps in the form factor of a doll or toy, [that] may be configured to control one or more media devices.” Joining the description is an illustration showing a stuffed teddy bear and bunny rabbit with embedded microphones, cameras, speakers, and motors. We’ve a copy of the illustration after the jump!

The patent was published yesterday, but was filed back in early 2012. Detailed within it are a pair of stuffed animals with hidden technology. The cameras are described as being behind the eyeballs; the speaker, most expectedly is within the mouth; the microphones are embedded in the ears. Motors, meanwhile, are where the joints would if the animals were real.

Things get creepier from there. The patent explains that the connected toys would be listening/watching for a “social cue”, which could be anything from a word or phrase to a specific gesture. Upon detecting this cue, the toy could then “aim its gaze at the source” and accept an incoming command. Oddly enough, it details speaking to the toy as a way to issue “a media device command”.

Using that example, the connected toy would then “transmit the media device command to a media device” — basically serving as a sort of voice command-based remote for your other connected home gadgets. As this is only a patent, there’s no guarantee such toys will ever actually exist.

Though the premise is creepy, the potential uses are relatively obvious: your child could carry the bear around and at the same time ask it to do things like turn on the DVD player, which it would do. This does beg the question, though — do you really want a teddy bear in your house that is always watching and listening?

SOURCE: BBC


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