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Google’s idea of a smart home controller is a nightmare brought to life

The word “anthropomorphic” doesn’t exactly illicit pleasant thoughts, especially for people who’re afraid of dolls, but that’s still the word Google used to describe a new device it’s looking to patent, one that will essentially be Google’s take on Amazon Echo, albeit much creepier. In fact, the patent actually describes the device as potentially taking the form of a doll that will always be on the lookout for audible or visual cues. Once it detects these cues, it might literally turn its head to look in that direction. 

In what sounds like every child’s (and adult’s?) nightmare, Google is looking to patent technology that would turn toys into Internet-connected controllers of gadgets in the home. The patent describes “an anthropomorphic device, perhaps in the form factor of a doll or toy, [that] may be configured to control one or more media devices.” “Upon reception or a detection of a social cue, such as movement and/or a spoken word or phrase, the anthropomorphic device may aim its gaze at the source of the social cue,” the patent continues (eep!) It might also “interpret the voice command and map it to a media device command, [and] transmit the media device command to a media device, instructing the media device to change state.” In reality, it sounds much like the Amazon Echo , but if you add a face, some fur, and perhaps a pair of overalls, things get creepy fast. Hopefully whatever Google comes up with will be more Teddy Ruxpin than Chucky. The patent includes drawings of a bunny and a teddy bear that look decidedly non-homicidal. Speakers are in the mouth, cameras in the eyes, and speakers in the ears.

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