Google Patented Super-Creepy Teddy Bears That Always Watch You

Fanghawk

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Google Patented Super-Creepy Teddy Bears That Always Watch You

Google's R&D lab may have patented the creepiest technology ever - teddy bears that record conversations and follow your every move.

Toys are super amazing to display or play with, but I think we can all agree: In the wrong context <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/10005-Five-Nights-at-Freddys-and-This-War-of-Mine-Review>they are super creepy. We've been learning that the hard way from <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/google>Google, of all companies, whose R&D lab just published patents for internet-connected teddy bears and bunnies. These stuffed animals are fully equipped with microphones, speakers, and cameras that monitor children at all times. And while that's a subtle, if unsettling, way to watch your kids, Google went a horrifying step further - adding motors so the toys can turn their heads to make eye contact.

Created by Richard Wayne DeVaul, these plans were submitted in a 2011 patent that only now saw the light of day. Each toy has a "trigger word" that wakes them up to face the person addressing them. The toys could also turn their heads to look at anyone speaking in the room, use speakers to respond, or depict human emotions like interest, curiosity, or boredom. "To express curiosity, [it] may tilt its head, furrow its brow, and/or scratch its head with an arm," DeVaul wrote, presumably while being watched by the teddy bear overlords.

While teddy bears and bunny rabbits were proposed designs, the concept could be applied to any child's toy - dragons and aliens are both mentioned as examples. According to the patent, the key is that the toys should be cute so young children are encouraged to interact with them. "Young children might find these forms to be attractive," it reads, "However, individuals of all ages may find interacting with these anthropomorphic devices to be more natural than interacting with traditional types of user interfaces."

But that's not all the toys are capable of - they can control your home as well. According to the documents, the WiFi connection lets them access TVs, DVD players, thermostats, window curtains, and lights. This way, when you enter a room and are recognized by a toy, it can automatically alter electronics in the room to suit your needs. In fact, the documents suggest this idea will be so popular that families will want multiple toys across the home - including bedrooms.

Yup. Can't see how that would ever go wrong.

Setting aside how freaking creepy this all sounds - mechanical teddy bears don't look nearly as joyful as animations after all - there are also a host of privacy concerns. "The privacy concerns are clear when devices have the capacity to record conversations and log activity," Big Brother Watch Director Emma Carr explained. "When those devices are aimed specifically at children, then for many this will step over the creepy line. Children should be able to play in private and shouldn't have to fear this sort of passive invasion of their privacy. It is simply unnecessary."

To be fair, monitoring children with cameras isn't new - the question is actually slipping them into beloved toys goes a step too far. Either way that's a concern for the future since these designs are still in the patent stage... unless it turns out <a href=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws-yd9YPfdE>Five Nights at Freddy's is more accurate than we dreamed of.

Source: Financial Express

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Neurotic Void Melody

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Haven't they already put cameras in soft toys before? Though it's the WiFi connection that is the worrying addition. Still, a few parents like to have full surveillance of their children. It being instinctual and wotnot what not.
As long as the toys have no physical ability to grasp sharp kitchen utensils, we should be safe for now, while the only danger is stupidity.
 

Hairless Mammoth

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The Furbies are back! The Furbies are back! Take up your arms. Man the harpoons. We must destroy these things before they have a chance to multiply.

But seriously, why must these tech companies try to make toys like this. It bad enough they have to add Wifi to smoke alarms, refrigerators, dead bolts and other crap that does really need it (and many times causes them to fuck up), but then they add fucking microphones. The Big Brother Watch (So that's a thing, huh?) director says she is worried about kids being scared of an invasion of privacy. I would have imagined her words would more in line of "Companies should not try to acclimatize children to constant surveillance."

Also, yeah, FNaF 2 had animatronics (really fully functional bipedal androids) with buggy facial recognition software. I'd rather not let something like that even have WiFi access, much less give it motors for anything beyond emoting its cold, plastic visage.

OK, tin foil hat time is over. Say, isn't it a 5+ decade old cliche to have a stuffed animal bugged by spy agencies and PIs. I'm pretty sure I remember one being in an episode of Get Smart or some old movie.
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Fanghawk said:
Each toy has a "trigger word" that wakes them up to face the person addressing them.
Is that trigger word "Orwellian"?

Also, this sounds like a security nightmare, since defending against remote intrusion always seems to be the last thing on any manufacturer's mind. Imagine criminals being able to gain access to these things and remotely ascertain if nobody's at home- or if just the kids are there.
 

FPLOON

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The Rogue Wolf said:
Fanghawk said:
Each toy has a "trigger word" that wakes them up to face the person addressing them.
Is that trigger word "Orwellian"?
I thought the trigger word was "Poltergeist"?

OT: I think the only way I can trust these new teddy bears if they could talk to your kids... like how Slappy used to do...

Other than that, turn one into a clown and it could have been used in that Poltergeist remake...
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Oh God! Tumblr Teddies! They're creepy, they're always watching, they're triggered by random words, and they judge everything you do!
 

Fat Hippo

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So much for "do no evil" eh Google? Can't really say you're standing by that principle when you're building lil' 1984 teddies.
 

JLF

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A Google product that will collect all of your personal information. Sounds legit!
 

SKBPinkie

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Silentpony said:
Oh God! Tumblr Teddies! They're creepy, they're always watching, they're triggered by random words, and they judge everything you do!
Tumblr Teddies sounds like a great 80s-style cheesy horror movie series.

There will inevitably be Tumblr Teddies X which'll take place on a space station.

In space, no can hear you check your privilege.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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SKBPinkie said:
Silentpony said:
Oh God! Tumblr Teddies! They're creepy, they're always watching, they're triggered by random words, and they judge everything you do!
Tumblr Teddies sounds like a great 80s-style cheesy horror movie series.

There will inevitably be Tumblr Teddies X which'll take place on a space station.

In space, no can hear you check your privilege.
The in-movie Teddies would have to be made by either Sarkeesian Corp. or the Foundation for Social Justice.

And the cast has to always be a bunch of rich white College Sophomores.
 

sorsa

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I'm disappointed, the minions of Lucifer can do better than this.

Here's some improvements:

1. Neuro-toxin dispenser at the mouth which triggers at the use of certain keywords like "humane, dignity, human rights, personal space, privacy, rainbow puppies" etc.
2. Playback of heavy breathing voice just before you fall asleep
3. A can of radioactive waste stitched into each doll

*gets promoted to CEO of google children's toy division*
 

Stupidity

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In the spirit of improving functionality, these bears need the ability to follow children around. Give them the ability to walk, climb and jump. This might be a little creepy though, so how about they only move when no one is watching them?

Oh and to inform people they still have power, how about they laugh with the voices of children at random intervals. The longer the laugh the more power they have.

Come on Google! This is a thing we can do. We have the technology!
 

jklinders

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*shudders*

this is pretty horrifying. Who thought we needed wifi capable toys that know who we are anyway. back in ancient history when I was a kid we had these things called "imagination." We pretended the toys controlled themselves but still knew we were using them. I do not want to live in a world where a child's stuffy is setting the fucking thermostat for me.
 

Elfgore

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Question. Who in their right mind woke up one morning, went into work, and said "We need creepy ass teddy bears that follow you."? Clearly not someone sane. Furbies already creep me out, this just sounds demonic.
 

karkashan

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What ever happened to talking to your own kids, trusting them and having the trust you in return to tell you all the pertinent (and let's be honest, 80 percent not-so-pertinent) details of their day?

Yeah, if I ever become a mom, I'm staying the hell away from these things - mostly because I had a Furby as a kid that woke up in the middle of the night sounding like a demon and my children don't need that kind of trauma.

praisegrima
 

MysticSlayer

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Fat_Hippo said:
So much for "do no evil" eh Google? Can't really say you're standing by that principle when you're building lil' 1984 teddies.
I think that it has been well-established at this point that Google doesn't care about people's privacy, so I'm not really sure that something like this is all that surprising.

Hairless Mammoth said:
But seriously, why must these tech companies try to make toys like this. It bad enough they have to add Wifi to smoke alarms, refrigerators, dead bolts and other crap that does really need it (and many times causes them to fuck up), but then they add fucking microphones. The Big Brother Watch (So that's a thing, huh?) director says she is worried about kids being scared of an invasion of privacy. I would have imagined her words would more in line of "Companies should not try to acclimatize children to constant surveillance."
In some cases, it may really be about bettering people's lives, but for the most part, it is probably all about business. For larger companies, it is another avenue of revenue and ways to integrate their products into people's lives. For smaller companies, it may be about finding that one thing that helps them make it big.
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

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Nobody needs to talk about what this could mean for recording children inappropriately, we all know how friggen creepy this is in that regard.

I just don't like inanimate objects watching ANYONE behind cuddly faces.
 

Twintix

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Well that's unsettling. And very invasive of the privacy of children.

If this shit actually happens and becomes the norm in the future, I'll sew my own toys for my kids.