Mattel may be rolling out new Barbies with body types more like those of everyday girls, but when it comes to housing, the iconic doll is still in a world of her own.
At the 2016 New York Toy Fair this week, Mattel unveiled its newest Barbie Dreamhouse, which is naturally an Internet-connected smart home controlled via app and voice commands.
The pink mansion retails for $300, but the folks over at Vocativ were curious how much it would cost to create such a smart home in real life. The bill for the technology, according to their calculations, was nearly $190,000. The automation technology (such as motion detectors and light controls) is among the lower cost items in the home, collectively costing about $500, with the bulk of the cost going toward a $172,000 escalator.
The calculation does not factor in the cost of Barbie’s hoverboard, another new product introduced by Mattel at the toy show. The pink hoverboard is a remote-controlled drone that will also soon be available for purchase.
Having a connected home makes sense for Barbie, who has recently gone high-tech herself. Wi-Fi-enabled Hello Barbie features speech recognition software and can hold a conversation with a child. It was one of the most popular Christmas gifts last year.
However, the doll sparked an outcry from critics who have expressed concerns that the connected doll does not include privacy safeguards and that Mattel is inappropriately collecting data on users.