Sphero's Adorable Spider-Man Toy Has AI Smarts (That Aren't Creepy)

Posted June 18, 2017

Nothing is shared or stored online, and while the toy does connect to your home's wi-fi network, that connection is only used for downloading software updates, and additional content.

Coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro sometime next year, Spider-Man won't be based on next month's Spider-Man: Homecoming, or any movie for that matter. But unlike those two, Sphero's Spider-Man toy focuses more on interacting with kids through actually speaking to them.

Since this new Spider-Man toy uses voice commands, it's understandable that parents might worry about privacy. Spider-Man doesn't just represent power and responsibility: He's a hero who protects a city and pledges that every time he dons his mask that nobody will die under his watch.

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Pricing of that 680 gram Sphero Spider-Man chimes in at $250 locally, with availability at EB Games, Zing, and Apple Stores in the coming days. And Spider-Man has many tales to tell. But instead of playing music, providing weather updates, or turning on appliances, Sphero's Spider-Man Interactive App-Enabled Super Hero toy lets kids chat with the web crawler, listen to stories and jokes, and participate in villain battles that play out like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. It's hitting stores today for $159/£149, and you can get one for yourself from the Sphero online store or retailers like Best Buy and Target in the United States, or Argos, John Lewis and others in the UK. It's not the one Tom Holland wears in in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's not the black symbiote Peter Parker wore in the comics (that eventually turned into Venom), but one that has a white spider design that's completely new. This is why Sphero is making sure the toy will have voice recognition built in.

The interactive device looks different from anything else Sphero has created, in that it's stationary and made of a rubber material - all the company's other toys are designed to move. You must press the Spider-Man logo button to turn on the microphone, and the logo is always lit when the toy is listening.