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...]

Round 2 Releases New Models

Round2Round 2 LLC, an Indiana-based innovative collectibles company, will release new models through January. Some AMT models that have recently been introduced include the Richard Petty Dodge Sportsman kit available for the first time since the 1970s, the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner muscle car kit, and the Star Trek Bridge Model Kit.

TheJetsonsModelKitFuture releases to expect include the reissue of The Jetsons Spacecraft model kit with pre-painted figures of George Jetson and his loyal dog, Astro and simple-snap assembly, and Polar Lights’ Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man VW Beetle kit with Spider-Man stickers to appeal to a younger generation of modeling enthusiasts. MPC’s Titan Rocket, Dodge Dart Sport, and AMT’s Ford Coupe, Ohio George Malco Gasser, Gloster Meteor MK-1 Fighter Jet, and 1975 Chevy Rescue Van will all be available through January.