With its relatively low cost and high convenience, Amazon’s Echo Dots have sold millions upon millions. But, when it comes down to it, it’s still pretty much a high-tech hockey puck.
An Austin startup thinks it has a way to make Alexa — and other virtual assistants like it — a bit cuddlier.
Austin-based Wetwire Robotics is launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise money and publicity for its teddy bears, which are equipped with internal speakers to tie into Alexa’s ports or connect via Bluetooth. They call it the Lexa Bear.
And Lexa Bear lives, sorta. The talking teddy bear ties up to the Echo Dot or any Bluetooth device like a phone or tablet, and the bear’s mouth moves as if it were saying whatever the connected device is broadcasting.
So, it’s not quite a robot. But it’s more customizable (i.e. fun for adults), versatile and, apparently, less expensive (at least for early birds) than the tech-enabled version of the 1980’s favorite Teddy Ruxpin.
In the right setting, Lexa Bear could be creepy as hell. But it’s marketed more toward fun interactions with the kids.
“It was really exciting when we showed the first talking bears speaking for Alexa to kids and even adults,” Victor Wong, creator and CEO of Wetwire Robotics, said in a news release. “We saw how much more engaged and alive the technology can be.”
The team at Wetwire has a couple prior Kickstarter campaigns that exceeded their goals, including the Guitar Wing: Wireless Control Surface for Guitar and Bass.
We’ll let the bear do the rest of the talking in the campaign video below.