Barbie becomes a hologram version of herself

Yes, after pulling herself out of her 1950’s rut as a swimsuit model to turn out to be everything from a medical doctor, lawyer, pc scientist, astronaut and even the president of the United States, Barbie has now turn out to be a 3D animated hologram that can serve up the weather, on command.

As first reported in Wired, The Hello Barbie Hologram debuted at the New York Toy Fair this week. And like the original Hello Barbie doll, her laser-beamed character combines motion-capture animation with peppy, Amazon Echo-like answers to your child’s concerns.

Require an alarm? Hello Barbie. Want a nightlight? Hello Barbie. Want to remind your kid to brush their teeth? Hello Barbie Hologram does that, too. Just turn her on with the wake phrase “Hello Barbie” to get her to do your bidding.

In other words, the supposed symbol for girls who “can do anything” really can turn into something, like a personified bot.

Isn’t that a bit…sexist? Some may possibly balk at the suggestion a holographic female doll bot serving up answers is somehow generating a gender imbalance. Right after all, you could say, it is just a doll combined with some cool technology. But, from what we know so far, there’s no hologram Ken version and robots and artificial intelligence applications are often designated as female, specifically if they fulfill a subservient function. Assisting you thoughts your schedule and answering concerns about the weather fall neatly into that category.

It also undermines Barbie as a real person. She’s a hologram assistant.

You’d think Mattel would be mindful right here of how the most current version of Barbie may possibly come across to impressionable young girls, offered its several other missteps — including and specifically in its foray into tech. We’ve written before about Barbie’s foibles as a hilariously undesirable computer engineer who seemed to break almost everything she touched and didn’t know how to code.

Barbie has also been criticized for maintaining unrealistic bodily proportions and placing a heavy emphasis on her appearance throughout the years. Some might say the Hello Barbie Hologram contributes in this regard, as well, by permitting any individual to alter the appear of the hologram by voice command.

Mattel has attempted to counter some of its previous criticisms with its “Imagine the Possibilities” advertising campaign last year, which shows a bunch of little girls performing grown ups’ jobs. The final caption of the advertisement reads, “When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can turn out to be.”

Difficult to say what a Barbie hologram would assist a small girl think about becoming, but hopefully it does not additional engender the stereotype that females are meant to be assistants to absolutely everyone else. Mattel might want to contemplate adding a Ken doll hologram or letting little girls discover how to program skills into the hologram in the future.

There’s also the query of privacy and security. Amazon Echo is constantly listening and, as it says in its FAQ, records a fraction of a second just before you say the wake word “Alexa.” Is Barbie now doing the very same, correct in your child’s bedroom? Mattel insists that, in contrast to Amazon, Barbie is not recording and uploading conversations to its servers. It also says Hello Barbie is heavily encrypted, meeting the Federal Trade Commission’s needs as outlined in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

Hello Barbie Hologram is just a prototype for now, and it’s not clear when it may well be accessible for customers. We also don’t know the cost of the doll however, but it will likely fall on the pricier end, as these newer tech-focused toys tend to do. But, according to Mattel, it will probably be significantly less than $ 300 when the hologram makes her debut.

TechCrunch

Hands-on with VR Sports Challenge, the Oculus Touch version of Wii Sports

When the Wii launched, no one particular knew what motion controller have been or why we even needed them. So to get folks excited about the new input technique, Nintendo released Wii Sports as a cost-free game to any person who bought the Wii.

The game came with Boxing, Bowling, Golf, Tennis and Baseball – all mini games developed to show off the motion controller. It proved to be very well-known – to date over 82 million copies have been sold, and the game did a great job of convincing folks why they needed motion manage (don’t forget when nursing houses bought Wii units so individuals could play Wii Bowling?).

Anyways, that was far more than 10 years ago. And to be truthful, there hasn’t genuinely been a new motion controller considering that – till now. With the launch of Oculus Touch (and the currently released HTC Vive) motion controls are producing a comeback. And 1 of the free launch titles (for preorders) available today on Oculus is called VR Sports Challenge – and essentially attempts to do for Oculus what Wii Sports did for the Wii ten years ago.

The game has only three sports – Football, Basketball and Hockey. Here’s a fast rundown of what I though of each and every one particular, in order of most enjoyable to least enjoyable.

Football

For the football game you’re both the quarterback and the receiver. You choose a play and get to contact hike, scan the field, and sooner or later throw to an open receiver. If you don’t throw in time you will be sacked.

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    calling a play off your wrist

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    Hunting to throw a pass

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    Catching a pass

After the ball is thrown your character switches to the receiver, where you can try to catch the ball with two hands. As soon as you catch it you shed manage of the player and he gets tackled.

Usually you’re place in a scenario exactly where there are about two minutes left in the game and you need to have to go score 2 touchdowns to win. Typical football rules apply – like 4 downs and a game-clock – but the timing is a small weird. For instance, if you score with 25 seconds left in the game the ball will go to the other group, but they just turn it correct back over to you with 25 seconds nevertheless on the clock. Good, but not realistic.

All round, utilizing the Touch motions to play football felt really organic – you just squeeze and release whenever you want to catch or throw the ball. Plus, obtaining VR put you in the “eyes” of the quarterback is actually cool – almost like a far more interactive version of Madden.

Basketball

Basketball was my second favorite game. Usually it was a related circumstance where there was a minute or two left in the game and your group was down. You by no means play defense, so when you turnover the ball it just goes back to you.

You can throw the ball to your teammates as properly as shoot, which each happen when you let go of the triggers and make a passing or shooting motion. If you pass to a teammate you automatically take more than for them, and need to have to then catch your own pass. Shooting is fairly tough in fact – you really have to make an arc like you are truly shooting, or else it will not go in.

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    dunking soon after passing an Aly-oop

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    About to pass

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    holding the ball

There was also an ally-oop function I discovered genuinely exciting – when promoted you throw it up to the net, then you had been teleported to the player who was producing the dunk in slow motion, so you could catch the ball and dunk it.

Hockey

Hockey was weird. And Ice Hockey is in fact the only one particular of these sports I’ve truly played. But in the game you’re primarily the goalie, which just is not that much exciting. It’s also quite difficult – you have to hold an imaginary stick/blocker in one hand and a glove in the other – just like a actual ice hockey goalie. These tools don’t specifically translate nicely to the touch controller, so it got a little difficult to play.

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    Saving a shot

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    Shooting

Occasionally you can get a breakaway and switch to offense, but all you can do on offense is take a single nicely-timed shot and hope it goes in. Hockey is undoubtedly the least enjoyable of the there. Oh, there’s also apparently a portion in the storyline exactly where you begin fighting other players, but hockey didn’t keep my focus extended enough to get there.

Baseball Mini Game

There actually is a 4th sport snuck into the game by way of the mini-games location.

Known as House Run Derby, you get the likelihood to grab a bat and step up to the plate. If you like baseball this could be entertaining, but making use of the touch controllers to hold a bat also wasn’t that organic – because when you hold a genuine baseball bat you are supposed to hold your knuckles close together with a tight grip, and the touch controllers don’t actually let you do that.

Overall Impressions 

You are probably only going to really like and regularly play VR Sports Challenge if you’re a sports fan. It is not like the Wii exactly where it does a great job at offering enjoyable for anyone. But if you are into football, I’d argue it’s just as fun as the newest Madden game.

If you have been organizing on using VR Sports Challenge to show your close friends how cool VR and Touch is – do not. You’re better off setting them up with Initial Make contact with or Toybox or any other Oculus demo exactly where they can truly explore the complete functionality of the hands, with out the distractions of the pseudo-sports games provided by VR Sports Challenge.

TechCrunch

Twitch seems to be obtaining its own version of Amazon Prime, known as “Twitch Prime”

It appears that Twitch-integrated games are not the only point Amazon has been working on with the reside-streaming internet site it owns. A tiny number of Twitch users are now reporting seeing a new section known as “Twitch Prime” pop up in their profiles. According to a banner ad spotted by one particular user, Twitch Prime will incorporate perks like “free loot each month,” as properly as exclusive discounts on new-release games, as well as ad-free viewing, and a lot more.

It appears the user, Dennis Sädtler, who’s primarily based in Germany, was accidentally shown a test of Twitch Prime, as he also encountered a “test game” that popped up with placeholder text along with a couple of more details about joining Twitch Prime. He says the content was only shown briefly, around 1 PM EST on Friday (17:00 UTC).

The screen also informed him that Twitch Prime was included with an Amazon Prime membership at no added cost.

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That signifies, like some of Amazon Prime’s other benefits such as Amazon Music or Prime Video, Twitch Prime will be sold each inside the larger $ 99 per year Prime membership package, as properly as a standalone subscription. The banner also touted a 30-day cost-free trial, but the user was not capable to catch the pricing.

In addition to this sighting, another Twitter user, Tyler Kizner, identified a non-functional hyperlink to Twitch Prime in his Settings section, subsequent to “Channels &amp Videos,” also for a short time. The hyperlink replaced the “Turbo” section which was there previously. That would make sense if Twitch Prime was a rebranded Turbo – Twitch’s current paid tier that removes advertisements and offers other functions for $ 8.99 per month.

Kizner also said the “Twitch Prime” link was non-functional when clicked, and redirected him back to the Twitch homepage. (The banner link is https://twitch.amazon.com/prime, and continues to redirect at this time.)

Sädtler told us that he’s been datamining Twitch’s website for a couple of weeks, and caught a few other references to Prime, which was being referred to internally as “Premium.”

He spotted other new functions, also, like “Twitch Launcher,” which he describes as a tiny system for downloading games bought on the Twitch-integrated Amazon platform. This contains games like “Breakaway,” the 1st Twitch-integrated Amazon Game Studios title.

Although solutions have a tendency to test new attributes all the time, there’s a great opportunity that Twitch Prime is going to be announced these days, offered that TwitchCon, the live streaming company’s annual conference, is presently underway.

Amazon acquired Twitch back in 2014 for more than a billion dollars, but the streaming site has operated reasonably independently till lately. In current days, that has changed. For instance, Amazon ran some of its pilot Tv applications on Twitch, and yesterday, it announced the first Amazon Game Studios titles that will function Twitch integrations. 

Twitch was not quickly available for comment.

TechCrunch