Internet connected devices such as TVs and fridges are becoming a popular addition to homes. However, homeowners may soon be able to control their homes using toys, thanks to Google. The company has published a patent suggesting that toys may not only be able to operate household appliances such as light switches and washing machines, but also communicate with children as well as adults.
The patent, which has been described as “creepy,” would see toys being able to act upon command, turning their heads to look directly at the person giving instructions and even changing their facial expressions.
“To express interest, an anthropomorphic device may open its eyes, lift its head and/or focus its gaze on the user,” the patent states.
The patent also states that the toys would appeal to children and adults. Children would be drawn to the devices because of their “cute” look, whilst adults would find them easier to interact with compared to other devices.
In addition to washing machines and light switches, the toys would also be able to operate a variety of other household devices, including TVs and DVD players.
Whilst the idea may sound appealing to some homeowners, there have been concerns over privacy. The toys would contain cameras and microphones, which means that homeowners could find their conversations being recorded.
Emma Carr, the director of Big Brother Watch, voiced her concerns over the idea, saying: “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.”
Those concerned about privacy do not need to worry yet, as the idea, which was created by Google’s R&D division, may not even be put into production.
A spokesperson for the company said that employees may come up with many ideas, but not all of them become actual products.
“Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t,” the spokesperson said.