In a stunningly scary move, Google researchers decided that ‘cuddly’ internet-connected toys to control smart home appliances was the future of the Internet of Things. The plan was that the toys would turn their heads towards users and listen for instructions before then sending commands to servers. The idea behind the cuddliness and head turning was to make the items as family friendly as possible, particularly for younger children.
Assuming they didn’t get nightmares first…
The patent was originally filed in 2012 and was recently discovered by technology law firm SmartUp, who described it as “one of Google’s creepiest patents yet.”
Google themselves were not able to say whether this patent would be developed as an actual product.
A spokesperson said, “We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications.”
The idea was conceived by Richard Wayne DeVaul, who holds possibly the world’s most coveted job title of “director of rapid evaluation and mad science” at Google X.
The patent indicates that a trigger word (“OK, rabbit”?) would wake them, causing their head to turn and even ascertain whether eye contact was being made. The documentation adds that the device could respond both by speaking and using ‘human-like’ expressions, such as curiosity, surprise or boredom.
“To express interest, an anthropomorphic device may open its eyes, lift its head and/or focus its gaze on the user,” Mr DeVaul wrote. “To express curiosity, [it] may tilt its head, furrow its brow, and/or scratch its head with an arm.”
The creator of the idea went on to add: “Individuals of all ages may find interacting with these anthropomorphic devices to be more natural than interacting with traditional types of user interfaces.”
Would you like a cute toy in your house turning its head and listening for your command? Let us know in the comments below or by Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
And in case you didn’t get the monster reference…