Now Kids Can Chat With Thomas The Tank Engine, Too

You might remember Hello Barbie, a wifi-enabled smart doll that lets children hold conversations with their Barbie dolls…after that speech is recorded, transmitted to product creator ToyTalk, converted to text, and the answer is sent back to Barbie. While the idea of a doll that can hold a conversation is interesting, there are a lot of other products out there that want to chat with your kids.

The company behind the voice functions of Hello Barbie, ToyTalk, makes its own apps, which it calls “interactive storytelling.” They release an app today called “Thomas and Friends Talk to You,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

In case you’re worried that the app is eavesdropping on your toddler and analyzing every word she says, ToyTalk made sure to explain to a reporter from Fast Company that the app, like the doll, is only listening when you press the “speak” button. One challenge with the “Thomas” app, aimed at a younger audience, was redesigning that talk button so toddlers would understand it easily.

HOT ON HELLO BARBIE’S PLASTIC HEELS, TOYTALK NOW LETS KIDS CHAT WITH THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE [Fast Company]