After recently teaming up with Pixar on a Cars 3-based Lightning McQueen robot, Boulder, Colorado’s Sphero has joined forces with another Disney-owned powerhouse, Marvel, for its latest tech toy, an app-enabled Spider-Man Interactive Super Hero.
Featuring fully animated LCD eyes, voice control and motion detection, the expressive bot can sense when people pass by, react when shaken or tossed in the air, act as an alarm clock, and guard a child’s room to stop unwanted intruders.
And by double-pressing the toy’s spider button and using a variety of pre-programmed phrases like “What’s the crime report?,” “Make me laugh” and “Tell me a story,” the famous web-slinger will react with his signature snarky attitude.
The toy, which is AppliedTrust-certified and compatible with iOS and Android devices, is available in Canada exclusively at Best Buy for CA$199. It’s also available in the US at Amazon, Best Buy, Brookstone, Bed Bath & Beyond, Disney.com, Barnes & Noble and at Sphero.com (see him in action here) for US$149.99.
At launch, Spider-Man will include 100 jokes, 20 stories and 15 games. Through the app, kids can create their own super hero persona and embark on 25 missions with Spidey against notorious villains including Venom and Lizard. The toy’s advanced technology also lets Spider-Man learn from conversations and adapt to kids’ personalities.
As for privacy, the toy contains no camera and its Wi-Fi capabilities only allow for content updates with new missions and villains to be stored on the app and in Spider-Man himself.
According to a safety notification from Sphero, no personal information is collected without consent, voices are never stored or shared and all data is encrypted and anonymized. While the companies won’t collect children’s names, addresses and phone numbers, it will collect play trends and ages. Email addresses will also be collected for marketing purposes, but only if kids ages 13 and up choose to provide them.
The toy’s specs include a Bluetooth Smart BLE connection, a web-charging base that provides more than two hours of play on a full charge, a microphone, a high-fidelity speaker and a 3D accelerometer.
The launch arrives as the new trend towards more advanced and intelligent voice-controlled products for kids, like Mattel’s Aristotle, continues to mount. In fact, the demand for smartphone-based connected toys is expected to grow threefold to US$15.5 billion by 2020, according to digital analyst Juniper Research