Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Life&Culture | By Kristin Armstrong

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

With the new generation of "Spider-Man" on the way to the movies in the next few weeks, it makes sense for toy stores to get their action figures, web slingers, and anything else that can allow kids to relive their fondest memories of the movie, and possibly some adults, too. Both are though rather high-priced toys and likely find more geeks owning them than kids. 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. He's somewhat new to the Spider-Man mythos, having made a splash when Dan Slott started his massively long run as the writer of several Spider-Man books.

Another big addition to Spider-Man's arsenal of acrobatic talents? 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 U.S., or Argos, John Lewis and others in the UK. The Spider-Man in this game will not be able to kill anyone. Instead of moving parts, you'll be the one bringing him around, exploring the world with a fairly sizeable 680 gram toy.

An accompanying iOS and Android app is required to set up the toy. For any Spider-Man fan, this is not only an interactive companion or toy, but it's a unique collectible and the ultimate alarm clock.

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Since this new Spider-Man toy uses voice commands, it's understandable that parents might worry about privacy. The toy's microphone is also only turned on when the spider logo is glowing, so it's incapable of always listening.

Though based off of Marvel's famous characters, Insomniac's Spider-Man universe is self-contained and doesn't have any connection to other franchises (like the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming film). This is why Sphero is making sure the toy will have voice recognition built in. Speaking during the PlayStation live stream at E3 2017, Insomniac Games explained that Spider-Man will be its own world, with numerous same memorable elements of the property's version of NY but with some creative flourishes that will "surprise people".

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