CAYLA is a new interactive doll that girls can talk to. She uses voice recognition and speech generation technology to respond to questions. The doll is internet connected via a Smartphone (not included) and can access websites to get information.
CAYLA is currently being demonstrated by Vivid at the London Toy Fair. The UK's Daily Mirror newspaper asks 'creepy or cool'?
We think cool. Access to (appropriate) information is a wonderful thing for children and being able to ask a toy when you have a burning question or need a bit of help seems like a natural interaction for kids.
Of course with a toy like this there's a risk that the technology is not quite there yet. In the video above there are some significant delays in response time which will make play less than natural. And our experience with voice recognition technology is that it struggles with the unclear speech of young children.
Where have we seen a toy like this? Ah yes, it's the Super Toy talking teddy bear. Super Teddy is a Kickstarter project that is currently under development (we're looking forward to receiving ours.)
CAYLA offers a similar concept but in a format that will have more appeal to girls. The toy is expected to release in July 2014 (source toyworld) and be on gift lists this Christmas.
I definitely think there's a role for toys like this. I don't expect the first generation toys to be perfect but CAYLA definitely looks interesting.