There were plenty of gems at this year’s Toy Fair, the self-described “largest toy trade show in the Western Hemisphere.” We saw programmer-friendly board games, smartphone-controlled paper airplanes, and, as ever, some really cool, geek-centric kits from the perennial favorite Lego.
Here are some of the coolest tech toys I spotted after a day of roaming the halls of New York City’s Javits Center at 2014’s Toy Fair.
HEXBUG, maker of all things robotic insect, has taken the plunge with Aquabots, little underwater insects that do a pretty remarkable goldfish impression. Drop them in an aquarium, and their tails get to work, swimming and diving all over the tank. They’ll go to sleep to conserve battery after five minutes of work, but you can wake them back up with a tap on the glass.
When it needed to prototype chairs for manufacture, the team at Pensa Labs found that traditional 3D printing technology came up short, so it decided to create an entirely new sort of desktop manufacturing. DIWire creates usable objects and works of art from straight metal rods.
GeoWorld T. Rex
Well, I know what I want for Christmas. And you can get me one for the low, low price of $6,000. This animatronic T. rex was actually intended to be a store display, but if you ask real nice (and have a lot of money to burn), you just might be able to get some lucky kid (or tech blogger) a gift he’ll never forget.
The Danish building block maker always puts on a big show for Toy Fair, and 2014 certainly wasn’t an exception. This year Lego offered up some truly covetable bits of pop culture ephemera, including tributes to The Simpsons, The Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters.
MiP — that’s Mobile Inverted Pendulum — is an extremely cool two-wheeled mini-robot that’s really good at balancing, even when holding its own weight in cargo. Other hobbies include dancing, boxing and bringing you cans of soda.
For all those kids who’ve dreamed of building robots at home (that’s every kid, right?), MOSS makes things easy. The system is based around little modular blocks that connect sensors to actions, so you can piece together a smartphone-controlled car or any other robotic creation you can imagine.
Clip this gadget onto a standard paper airplane, and, boom, you’ve got your very own smartphone-controlled glider. The add-on connects to iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth and has a built-in battery that should give you around 10 minutes of flying time on a charge.
This truly innovative board game from a former Google employee is aimed at getting kids to learn the basics of coding without the need for a computer. Robot Turtles is a classic-style game that teaches youngsters basic programming fundamentals as they attempt to move their turtle cards to the center square.
This budget successor to Orbotix’s popular smartphone-controlled ball is fast, handles well and can stop on a dime. The iOS and Android controlled Sphero 2B was first shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show last month. It’s in the prototype stages, but it still works like a charm.
An app and case that turn your tablet or smartphone into a cuddly companion for your little one. Ubooly communicates with kids through speech recognition, suggests adventures and teaches them a thing or two about subjects like science and foreign languages in the process.
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