"Kids can play with Alexa in their very own $300 pretend kitchen and grocery store," CNET reports, "with the Amazon voice assistant dishing out cooking advice, shopping help and plenty of goofy toddler humor."
The Alexa 2-in-1 Kitchen and Market, from toymaker KidKraft, is making its debut at this weekend's New York Toy Fair... It uses a mix of RFID sensors and Bluetooth to tell Alexa which pretend food items kids are buying and cooking... Alexa speaks only when a sensor on the play set is activated. Put a toy hot dog into the pot on the stove, and Alexa knows you're cooking hot dogs. Kids hear the splash sound effect, and Alexa alerts when the hot dogs are done cooking and to hurry up and get the buns. "If they get cold, they will be chili dogs," she says...
The accessories that come with the kitchen and market, which include fake food, cookware and a credit card, are fitted with RFID chips, and sensors can tell which items are at the register, stovetop or cutting board. The play set then relays that info to the smart speaker via Bluetooth. So, if a kid places lettuce on the market scanner, it could prompt Alexa to say, "Lettuce! Are we making a salad?" And if a kid says, "Yes," Alexa will say, "Great! I love salad. Maybe get some avocado, too."
Engadget reports that once you install an Echo dot, "it will play games with your children and instruct them on how to make the best fake hot dog ever." And there's inevitably a game where Alexa tells your kids what to do:
There's plenty of freeform play to be had, but to take advantage of Alexa's real capabilities a kid has to make use of the included "recipe cards." They're not real recipes with ingredients and instructions. Instead it's just a picture of the food the child wants to make, and they insert the card into a special reader on the counter to start the process of preparing it with Alexa's help. Alexa will instruct the child on whether to grab a pot or a pan, if it needs to be filled with water, and whether any ingredients need to be cut on the tiny chopping board. If the requested food isn't in the pantry, never fear: There's a store on the other side...
Unsurprisingly, the KidKraft 2-in-1 Alexa Kitchen and Market will be an Amazon exclusive when it launches some time this year. And the price? A hefty $300.
Tom's Guide calls the playset "clever --and also really creepy."
"On one hand, it's a screen-free, interactive experience... But there are a few concerns that a toy of this budding breed creates. I can't help but question the social implications of making Alexa a child's on-demand playmate."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.