20:01 GMT19 April 2021
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    Google has been granted a patent allowing it to produce cuddly toys with cameras and microphones to monitor the children playing with them.

    Google was granted a patent last week to produce toys with cameras and microphones which can be programmed to listen for commands from children, and then be used to turn on electronic devices around home.

    According to the filing, the toy could look like a person, or be in the shape of an alien or even dragon, so that "young children might find these forms to be attractive."

    "An anthropomorphic device, perhaps in the form factor of a doll or toy, may be configured to control one or more media devices," reads the patent, listing a range of devices including TVs, DVD players, home thermostats, motorized window curtains and lights.

    "Upon reception or a detection of a social cue, such as movement and/or a spoken word or phrase, the anthropomorphic device may aim its gaze at the source of the social cue," reads the document.

    The device can then respond by speaking, or making "human-like" expressions of interest, curiosity, boredom or surprise.

    After engaging the child in communication, the toy could then use commands from the child to operate the devices around the home, for example turn on a light, change the settings of the air conditioner or turn on the dishwasher.

    An illustration of the toys from the patent submitted by Google
    An illustration of the toys from the patent submitted by Google
    "In response to receiving a voice command, the anthropomorphic device may interpret the voice command and map it to a media device command. Then, the anthropomorphic device may transmit the media device command to a media device, instructing the media device to change state."

    A spokesperson for Google was unable to clarify if Google is planning to make the product into a reality, explaining that "we file patent applications on a variety of ideas," and that "some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't." 

    The patent, which was filed in 2012, was spotted by technology firm SmartUp, who described the application as "one of Google's creepiest patents yet."  


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