Creepy or cool? Google filed a patent for a smart teddy bear that listens and obeys

Like something out of Toy Story or Ted, lifelike teddies could become a reality if Google has its way.

The three-year-old patent only recently came to light, after legal technology firm SmartUp spotted the filling on the database of the US Patents and Trademarks Office.

The “doll or toy that resembles a human, an animal, a mythical creature or an inanimate object” would be able to listen to commands, recognise users with a camera and control connected devices.

“If the user speaks a command while gazing back at the anthropomorphic device, the anthropomorphic device may access a profile of the user to determine, based on the user’s preference encoded in the profile, how to interpret the command,” the filing explains.

But at a time when privacy is a big concern, do we really want children playing with a teddy fitted with microphones and cameras? According to SmartUp, it’s “one of Google’s creepiest patents yet”.

A spokesperson for Google didn’t say whether the device would ever be made when asked by BBC News.

“We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications.”

 

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