Bots and Dinos Take Over
High-Tech Toys for Boys Keep Play Cool
Several new products hit highs with technology this year, and many fell into the popular categories of robots and dinosaurs. “Lots of dinosaur product will hit shelves this year … appear[ing] in many categories, including infant and preschool, interactive preschool robotic pets, action figures, radio-controlled vehicles, building and construction, and science and adventure toys,” noted Reyne Rice, trend expert for the Toy Industry Association, in an issue of the “Toy Fair Times.”
Michele Sturdivant, director of PR and communications for Mattel Brands, told TDmonthly Magazine that while conducting research that led to the company’s new D-Rex, they “immediately recognized a void in the marketplace for pets made specifically for boys.” And the following products, whether dinosaurs or not, do cater to that demographic:
The Roboni-i features a programmable, remote-controlled robot that is equipped with sensors so it is aware of its environment. It is created especially for gaming and can function alongside other robots. The Starter Pack includes one Roboni-i robot, a remote controller, an infrared pod, a ball scoop, an electronic-game accessory, two electronic-game tags, an electronic ball, instructions, a USB cable, computer software, and five action games with remote-control reference cards.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17636 (added 2/19/2008)
MSRP: $15.00Age Range: 6 and upLaunch Date: September 2008Gender: Boys And Girls
The robotic dinosaur appears and behaves realistically. The toy walks, chomps his jaw, bares his teeth, wags his tail, roars and more in response to stimulation and what he wants. The D-Rex responds to touch, voices and more. “D-Rex combines robotics, proprietary software and reptilian skin to create a life-like appearance and behavior,” Michele Sturdivant, director of PR and communications for Mattel Brands, told TDmonthly. Launch date: Fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17777 (added 2/27/2008)
MSRP: $79.99Age Range: 6 and upLaunch Date: September 2008Gender: Boys And Girls
Affording visibility up to 20' in the dark, these goggles offer the experience of real night vision via infrared technology. Launch date: Fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17863 (added 3/5/2008)
MSRP: $300Age Range: 3 and upLaunch Date: September 2008Gender: Boys And Girls
Standing 4' tall, this animatronic, prehistoric character is more than 40" long, has sensors on 11 parts of its body, and can move its head, tail and horns. It is equipped to roar when spoken to, respond to its owner's actions, and even chew leaves. While riding in a spring-loaded seat on Kota's back, children will hear jungle sounds and can simply activate a handle switch to play adventure songs. The toy requires six D batteries (not included). Launch date: Fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17785 (added 2/27/2008)
The micro-robotic HEXBUG is a tiny, obedient insect that features bump-sensor feelers that help it avoid objects in its path. It responds to clapping or other loud noise by backing up or changing direction. The HEXBUG is small enough to fit in the hand and comes in five different body types and colors including pink, blue, green, yellow and orange. Awards: TDmonthly Innovations 2008.
— According to more than 60 reviews on Amazon.com and Radioshack.com, this fun, durable toy has been rated 4 out of 5 stars due to its entertaining and educational features. It is portable for any occasion and appropriate for any age. Consumers should be careful though, as they have been known to be flimsy and easily breakable, like real bugs! (09.12.08)
— "Everyone wants one, from adults to kids," Charles Bonner, owner of Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark., told TDmonthly of this best seller in April 2009. "I sell 200 to 250 a month." Three of 44 retailers tagged Hexbugs as an overall best seller in late fall 2009.
— During a September 2010 survey, two of 44 retailers listed Hexbugs as their top-seller for tweens.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17476 (added 2/12/2008)
With strong plastic pieces and robotic capabilities, this build-a-robot kit requires only a Philips head screwdriver and creativity for construction. Individuals can build a humanoid, a puppy, a dinosaur, an excavator and other machines, all of which utilize a sensor module that can sense distance and detect sound, Dynamixel DC servo modules that allow for a broad range of motion, and a CM-5 central controller module. The included computer programs can be used to create robot behaviors and movements. Three kits — Beginner, Comprehensive and Expert — are available.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17772 (added 2/27/2008)
Triceratops is a 26” long full-body glove. A tank-like plant eater with plated armor, he sports three soft foam huge flesh piercing horns on his head for protection against meat eating predators. As with all Prehistoric Puppets, he is fully flexible down to his swishing tail! A great learning and role playing puppet for ages 4 to extinct. Made of a super soft molded polyurethane foam realistically painted. Inventor Michael Maddi pointed out to TDmonthly that Puppetoys make great characters in little kids' home videos. Launch date: February 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16732 (added 12/21/2007)
Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author
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