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Mattel launches IoT Connected Kids Room Platform

William Payne
January 12, 2017

Toy maker, El Segundo based Mattel has developed a connected 'kids' room' platform in partnership with Microsoft,  Qualcomm and Silk Labs. The platform, called Aristotle and marketed under the Mattel nabi brand, is voice activated, AI driven and developed for a specific purpose: to help parents protect, develop, and nurture their children. Mattel will debut the Aristotle voice activated kids connected room hub and camera bundle at retail this summer.

Aristotle is designed to comfort, entertain, teach, and assist during each state of development, evolving with a child as their needs change from infancy to adolescence.  

In building Aristotle, Mattel's nabi brand focused on solving parents' biggest concerns when it comes to IoT: security, privacy, and intuitive ease of use. To that end, Aristotle has been designed with security top of mind, with special attention to COPPA compliance measures and how data is collected, transferred, and stored.  

The platform's Artificial Intelligence will use three distinct AI engines, including Microsoft Cognitive Services and the Silk Intelligence Platform.  These multi-levels of AI enable Aristotle to learn patterns and autonomously act upon user habits to aid in child development and learning.  

According to Mattel, Aristotle's AI will have a unique personality that will appeal to parents and kids and will be presented as the great descendent of Aristotle himself.

Aristotle incorporates AI, voice, sight and sounds into its hub and camera, providing an all-in-one solution that  works together. With its dynamic built-in LED multiple colour lighting system and companion Wi-Fi camera, Aristotle is designed to deliver more enhanced AI capabilities that enable it to do more specialised functions autonomously, including helping sooth a crying baby, purchase diapers or find online deals, reinforce good manners in children, and even help children learn a foreign language. 

Jim Mitchell, VP and GM of nab, said, "Raising kids can be hectic and we saw a need for an IoT system that simplifies the complex and dynamic lives of families, while providing them with peace of mind.  Our goal with the launch of Aristotle is to provide parents with a platform that simplifies parenting, while helping them nurture, teach, and protect their young ones."

The platform incorporates a voice-activated AI product specifically tailored to families.Aristotle uses Microsoft Cognitive Services – and soon Cortana Intelligence – for custom built AI with baby-centric features. It also includes search capabilities tied to parenting questions around baby and child care, powered by Bing.

The Aristotle hub is integrated with a smart light system: a night light, reading light, changing light, and multiple color lighting, specifically designed as a dynamic feedback system tied to the AI.  The hub is powered by Qualcomm Technologies' Smart Home Reference Platform based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor.  

The companion Wi-Fi camera with object recognition and movement detection is designed to further enhance its AI capabilities enabling Aristotle to perform more specialised functions. Aristotle can automatically play a lullaby and turn lights on dim when it hears a sleeping baby begin to cry.  Or for a toddler, the dynamic lighting system will light up green or red to acknowledge if the child has answered a question correctly during a voice activated learning lesson.

Aristotle's integrated smart light and Wi-Fi camera are designed to work seamlessly with its built-in parental controls so that it reflects the experience of what parents want. The addition of third party services, including IFTTT, complement Aristotle's "Do This When" autonomous AI protocols.

Aristotle's proprietary intelligence platform was created in conjunction with Silk Labs enabling nabi to create its own hardware and software experiences.   The platform features both a parent and child mode. In Child Mode, parents can set parameters and customisation for child interaction, such as requiring the word "please" in voice commands in order for Aristotle to complete the request, or restricting purchasing capabilities. Aristotle was also built with ease-of-use in mind. 

Mattel's nabi unit is also developing a line of connected hardware to improve the lives of children and families that integrates with Aristotle, beginning with a baby monitor that is expected to be available at launch.   Aristotle is designed to be compatible with several current IoT systems to enable parents to further build out and customise a truly smart, connected kids room. Aristotle will also connect seamlessly with Wink, Wemo, Samsung Smart Things, Philips Hue, Zigbee among others.

Sam George, Director, Microsoft Azure IoT at Microsoft Corp. said, "Mattel chose Microsoft as an enterprise grade technology partner to help empower their digital transformation.  The technologies that Mattel is leveraging, from Azure IoT Suite, to the Cortana Intelligence Suite to cutting edge Cognitive Services, are enabling a business revolution across industries.  We're excited to help Mattel accelerate Aristotle's introduction to the market and value our collaboration with them."

"Mattel is taking advantage of some of the newest and most exciting technologies from Qualcomm Technologies, like deep learning, voice recognition, audio, display camera and connectivity, to bring the benefits of the IoT to the home," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.  "We are pleased to work with Mattel, which has used its deep knowledge of families and children to create a powerful set of smart home capabilities together to bring safety, monitoring, entertainment and other new benefits in a compact and powerful platform."

Dr. Andreas Gal, CEO of Silk Labs, said "Intelligent consumer products like Aristotle are paving the way for a new class of meaningful experiences that improve our everyday lives. Silk is excited to be partnering with Mattel to lay the groundwork for this new product category. By leveraging the latest advances in neural networks and machine learning, Aristotle has a unique ability to learn and become smarter over time while ensuring maximum privacy and safety. We believe this is the future for all connected products."