Remember the film Ted where a little boy’s teddy bear comes to life and becomes his best friend? A Welsh entrepreneur is about to make that happen – well, the teddy won’t be living and breathing, but it’ll certainly be conversing with its owner.
Ashley Conlan, 47, is a Welsh inventor powering through the process of makeing the ultimate “Supertoy” teddy bear before Christmas. This is not like other toys where you press a button and responses like “I love you” plays back.
According to Wales Online, this unique teddy “uses artificial intelligence, a free smart phone app and a large in-built vocabulary to ‘converse’ with children.”
The teddy bear will read bedtime stories, play songs and answer questions (by going online to find the answer) and will speak through a mouth that is synced to its internal speaker. Through interaction, the toy will also learn a child’s preferences and change its attitude accordingly.
Conlan, 47, received a donation of £5,000 (which converts to over AU$8500) by Stephen Fry last week following an email to the actor-comedian asking if he’d be the voice of the talking teddy.
Fry tweeted about the project to his six million followers on Twitter, generating widespread public interest and raising the funding Conlan was looking for on crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter.
His goal was to obtain £30,000 (over AU$51,000), but 24 hours following Fry’s tweet, pledges have exceeded $36,000 (over AU$61,000).
Conlan told Wales Online that he hopes the “Supertoy” teddy inspires a new range of communicative and intelligent toys and “put Wales on the map for technology”.
This the perfect example of how entrepreneurs can take the traditional, embed innovation and create something new and special.
I’m no fortune teller, but this is sure to be a worldwide hit.