Exclusive Pics from 2014 Licensing Expo

Licensing Expo, the annual meeting place for the global licensing industry, occurred last week in Las Vegas. The exhibitors included a number of the top toy companies, which were on-hand showing off upcoming play products and making announcements about new licensing deals.

Check out this exclusive gallery, which features lots of the licensed toys that we’re all sure to be excited about in the months ahead. [Read more...]

MakerBot, Pretty Ugly Partner for 3-D Printable Uglydoll Characters

MakerBot and Pretty UglyMakerBot and Pretty Ugly LLC have collaborated to make four Uglydoll characters 3-D printable on a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3-D Printer. The content will be available on the MakerBot Digital Store for the Uglydoll characters Babo, Wage, Ice-Bat, and Ox, who are making their 3-D debut at the International Licensing Expo this week.

The characters are being introduced at T-pose characters, which are designed to be 3-D printed and fully poseable. Additional 3-D printables from the Uglydoll universe will follow, such as a bus to take the miniature Uglydoll characters on a summer vacation, four Uglydoll characters in dynamic stances, and 3-D printable environments for the Uglydolls to live in. All items will be released this summer on the MakerBot Digital Store.

COMMENTARY: It’s All About the Robots

Earlier this week, Senior Editor Marissa DiBartolo wrote about how the floor of the American International Toy Fair 2014 was lacking in the realm of appcessories, and that many companies were heading back to the classic play patterns, especially in the activities category. I also noticed an emerging trend that does not heavily rely on app technology, but does not veer from the idea of incorporating tech into playtime: robots.

As I walked the floor, I saw a bunch of different robotic products that really displayed where the category is heading—and a lot of that was not app-reliant. Of course, most of these robots can be controlled with or used with smart devices, but gone are the days where “and it has an app!” was a suitable enough novelty to convince consumers to purchase the toy.

Ali.Feb27First, let me introduce you to MiP. MiP, which is short for Mobile Inverted Pendulum, is WowWee’s latest innovation in association with the University of California at San Diego’s Coordinated Robots Lab. MiP has unique dual wheel balancing (thanks to that inverted pendulum science!) and is a fully interactive robot. MiP is able to navigate his surroundings while being controlled by hand gestures or through a Bluetooth link to a smart device. MiP also has a personality that is communicated through motion, sounds, and his LED eyes. [Read more...]

Spin Master’s Air Hogs Offers Custom 3-D Printed Armor Piece

Feb3.HeliCageArmorWith the growing popularity of 3-D printing, Spin Master offers a custom part for its Air Hogs Heli Cage Armored Edition, a helicopter featuring removable plastic armor. Samples of the part were built using a MakerBot 3-D printer, which creates real 3-D objects by laying down drops upon drops of plastic material and building them from the bottom up. The custom part was also flight-tested by engineers and tweaked for weight balance.

Spin Master now provides an open source 3-D file of the armor part online at the Air Hogs blog. Makers can download it for free and print it using a 3-D printer. For those who do not have direct access to a 3-D printer, Air Hogs recommends Sculpteo, which will print from the 3-D file and ship the part to customers. For the very technically inclined, the 3-D file can be fully manipulated to create a truly customizable piece.