HYBRIDEX

A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

Talk With Me Barbie

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Talk With Me Barbie 2

Released in 1997, Mattel’s Talk With Me Barbie was a programmable Barbie doll set that came with a special PC-connecting toy-desk and a CD-ROM. With the aid of these the Barbie could pronounce the user’s name and make preprogrammed comments.

Talk With Me Barbie doll from 1997 came with its own PC table that was connected to the user’s PC. The associated program came on a CD-ROM which was included in the package. Using the computer program, the users could select a set of phrases and their own name for Barbie to speak. When the user’s PC was connected to the play set desk and the Barbie was seated by it, the phrases were then stored into the Barbie’s necklace through utilizing infrared beaming, thus allowing the use of the voice functions without any accessories. Barbie (or rather, the necklace) could pronounce over 15,000 names, including a lot of uncommon ones, and even do different kinds of pronunciations. The phrases included on the CD covered a wide array of different kinds of situations. The user did not, however, have a possibility to create his or her own phrases.

Retailing for $90 in the US, Talk With Me Barbie was eventually deemed too expensive to be profitable and discontinued.

 

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Author: teehex

Heikki Tyni is a researcher for the Hybridex project at University of Tampere Gamelab. Into comics and old movies.

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