Barbie has not been messing around during Toy Fair lately. A couple years ago, Mattel showed off the Hello Barbie doll, which had natural voice recognition, and last year Barbie got her own voice-activated smart house. She’s no less tech savvy this year — she’s now going holographic.
Hologram Barbie isn’t actually a doll — the toy itself is a projector destined for kids’ nightstands. There’s not much to see until you say “Hello Barbie,” which sends an animated, holographic Barbie running in to say hi. Like with the Hello Barbie doll, Barbie can react to natural language. How much she’ll be able to understand is still unknown, but she’ll be able to handle day to day stuff like weather (she’ll actually look out a virtual window to see) and set calendar events and reminders. The projector includes a Bluetooth speaker, so a connection to an app might be needed.
She’s a dancer, too. Barbie can not only dance, but understand when asked to do a number of specific dance moves — and as you can see in the video, we have confirmed that Barbie can indeed dab.
Hologram Barbie is also in line with Mattel’s recent diversity initiative. During the demo, we saw Barbie change her appearance based on a simple voice command, becoming another preset Barbie. When the toy comes out, kids will be able to customize the skin tone, ethnicity, and body type of their Barbie.
But, this was just an early look at Hologram Barbie — unlike most of Mattel’s Toy Fair lineup, she doesn’t have a release date scheduled. She’s still under development, but from what we’ve seen, she could become a lot of kids’ (and adults’) new best friend in the near or far future.
Better yet, it gives us hope, once again, that Barbie will soon become a viable alternative to Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. Make it happen, Mattel!