Mattel’s new 2016 Barbie Hello Dreamhouse makes last year’s version seem terribly uncool–and even makes your real house feel pretty basic in comparison. The company really upped their game this year. And of course, that means it doesn’t come cheap, either.
The 2016 version of Barbie’s super posh crib is full of all sorts of sparkly technology, like being voice-controlled and having customizable sounds that you can change via a tablet. This means the elevator moves automatically via your voice and you can have the toilet cluck like a chicken. It’s sort of like that smart computer-controlled house in Ray Bradbury’s science fiction story “There Will Come Soft Rains.” The future has come.
To work, the house needs a Wi-Fi connection and cloud-based speech recognition for those voice controls to work. By saying “Hello Dreamhouse,” the home starts listening for your commands, and you can tell it to do more than 100 things. (Which means, yes, you’re really going to get tired of hearing “Hello Dreamhouse.”) This also means you can turn the disco lights on and throw cupcake parties, no problem.
For all of you paranoid types (like me) who think the house could be listening to your actual conversations, it’s not. Nothing is recorded other than any commands that follow the “Hello Dreamhouse” activation phrase. The speech-recognition features were developed by PullString, a company founded by a pair of former Pixar employees, who claim they put in privacy measures built into the system to ensure it isn’t always listening. Creepy to think about, eh?
So, as for the $$$: The entire super duper dream house costs $300, and it’ll be available this fall–NBD.
Watch the video below: