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Barbie Is a Hologram and Now Even Playtime Is Automated Now, we girls really can do anything.

By Linda Lacina

Mattel

Toy Fair starts this weekend, and Barbie is shaking up the doll aisle once again -- this time as a hologram.

Barbie's landscape has gotten increasingly techie and not just because Mattel's new president, announced last month, hails from Google. Barbie's line simply reflects the trends of the times. Last year's show launched a smart home version of the Barbie Dreamhouse that let children play hands-free, with voice commands that turned on lights and appliances.

Related: Introducing Entrepreneur Barbie

In 2015, Mattel launched a talking Barbie. Thanks to Wi-Fi and voice-recognition technology, kids could hold down the doll's belt buckle, ask a question into a microphone in her necklace and have a conversation with the doll.

If that process seems uncomfortable for Barbie and not the ideal way to have any kind of meaningful chat, you're not wrong. But thankfully, a new iteration could eliminate that awkwardness.

This year's hologram acts as a much more stylish and kid-friendly version of Apple's Siri or Amazon's Echo. As first reported in Wired, kids can use the phrase "Hello, Barbie" to chat with the doll and get her 2-D projection to do the usual things we ask our AI-powered assistants to do these days, such as tell us the weather or set an alarm.

Related: This Disney Princess Will Teach Your Child How to Code

It's a massive step forward, and not just because kids won't think they need to hold people in a vice-like grip just to ask them their favorite colors. In fact, this Barbie doesn't need to be held up by anyone at all. For the first time, kids can ask the doll to fix her own hair, sing her own songs and change her own darn outfits. In other words, this Barbie takes on some of the burden of playtime, freeing children from doing a 58-year-old woman's chores.

It is a liberation. Mattel plans to release the toy this summer.

Linda Lacina

Entrepreneur Staff

Linda Lacina is a special projects director at Entrepreneur.com. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Family Circle. Email her at llacina@entrepreneur.com.

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