Look who's a nerd: Barbie becomes computer engineer

After online poll, Mattel unveils doll that sports a laptop, Bluetooth headset and smartphone

Well, well. Look who's become a nerd?

Toy maker Mattel has given Barbie, an iconic fashion doll since 1959, a new career -- this time as a computer engineer.

For the first time, the company took an online vote, asking people to select the Barbie doll's 125th career by choosing between architect, computer engineer, environmentalist, news anchor or surgeon. And voters chose the high-tech job.

Barbie Computer Engineer
Barbie's 125th career move: computer engineer.

Mattel polled fans on Facebook and Twitter for Barbie's next big career change.

"All the girls who imagine their futures through Barbie will learn that engineers -- like girls -- are free to explore infinite possibilities, limited only by their imagination," said Nora Lin, president of the Society of Women Engineers, in a written statement.

"As a computer engineer, Barbie will show girls that women can turn their ideas into realities that have a direct and positive impact on people's everyday lives in this exciting and rewarding career," she said.

However, while the popular vote went to computer engineer, Mattel noted that girls selected news anchor as their favored career for the doll that, over the years, has been an aerobics instructor, nurse, flight attendant, NASCAR driver and an ambassador.

The girls' choice wasn't disregarded. News Anchor Barbie will be the doll's 126th career.

The toy company, which unveiled both new career-minded dolls at the 2010 American International Toy Fair last weekend, noted that they are both expected to hit store shelves this fall.

To create an authentic look, Mattel designers worked with the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering to develop the wardrobe and accessories for Computer Engineer Barbie, the company noted.

Computer Engineer Barbie is going geek chic with a binary code patterned T-shirt. She's also decked out with a pink laptop, a smartphone, a Bluetooth headset, and trendy eye wear.

To add to the idea of being a computer engineer, the doll comes with a code that unlocks exclusive online game content on Barbie.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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