'Talk With Me!' Barbie doll, USA, 1997.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Mattel launched this version of the ever-popular Barbie doll for Christmas 1997. Barbie's own computer links to the serial port of the user's computer. By inserting a CD-ROM, the user gives Barbie the power of speech, and can select a range of topics for Barbie to memorise. This information is then downloaded into Barbie by an ultraviolet beam, which travels from the computer screen to her necklace. Barbie celebrated her fortieth birthday in 1999 and remains one of the most popular dolls as she constantly evolves to reflect the times.