Spielwarenmesse: Tech2Play: a closer look on techno­logical toys

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Tech2Play
  Trends

01. February 2017 / Trends

Tech2Play: a closer look on techno­logical toys

from Reyne Rice /  Show comments

Technology offers a new toolset for todays’ society, and children are also engaged with their own technology playthings at increasingly younger ages. The Spielwarenmesse® has recognized this Tech2Play movement and created a new activity area at Spielwarenmesse® 2017, to introduce trade guests and retailers to some examples of the newest and most innovative playthings that will be on children’s wish lists in 2017.

The latest trickle-down technology trends often start with adult technology and then make their way into the kids’ world and kids tech products within a few years. That timeline has decreased and what used to take 18 months to two years to develop has now been shortened into timelines less than a year, before adoption in kids’ products.

Mainstream technology companies have either partnered with toy and game experts in the kids’ space OR have ventured out on their own, to compete with mainstream toy industry manufacturers for this lucrative market, that appeals to the wallets of parents and the pocket money of kids. Today, the shared family wallet for toys and games is allocated to spending on family entertainment, for play and education, and for that ever-appealing shared family experience. These technology toys add fun for the whole family!

Electronic Pets

Silverlit: Train my puppy
Silverlit: Train my puppy

Some prime examples to be revealed at the Tech2Play area and throughout the Spielwarenmesse® will include new Electronic Pets. Even children as young as the age of three can play with pets designed for them. New for 2017, simpler versions of the Spin Master Zoomer dog will be available as kitties (Meowsies) and puppies (Zuppies), expanding the pets to smaller sizes and lower price points. Older kids can play with a Train My Puppy creature by Silverlit Toys.

RC Drones

Parrot: Swing
Parrot: Swing
IMAZE TOYS: DroneBall
IMAZE TOYS: DroneBall

Drones offer FPV (First-Person-View) racing, cameras, high speeds and tons of features.
IMAZE Toys DroneBall adds streaming real-time footage and a patent-pending stabilization system to its drone.

Parrot, from France, demonstrates its MiniDrone Mambo and Swing at the Tech2Play area, with advanced features for the most discerning drone pilots. Horizon Hobby, Spin Master, DJI, SkyRocket and others feature drones in their exhibitor stands, that combine drone racing, augmented reality, and even 4D camera options.

Robot Toys

Robotics will be featured at Tech2Play with a wide variety of options for all ages. The Code & Go Robot Mouse by Learning Resource reveals a new way to play offline with new coding and programming for preschoolers.

Other robots teach coding and programming, engage kids in dance moves and games, or just provide an animated friend experience, that will delight kids and adults. More advanced toys also teach kids core science and engineering skills.

Virtual Play

Uncle Milton Industries: Space Expedition
Uncle Milton Industries: Space Expedition
Seedling NZ: Design your own Marble Maze
Seedling NZ: Design your own Marble Maze

Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are also on full display at Tech2Play, also with kid offerings. Popar uses augmented reality to bring Safari Toys to Life. Uncle Milton, will be exploring Space, Dinosaurs and Ant Habitats with their Virtual Explorer kits. Combining physical toys and Virtual Reality Goggles with augmented reality card experiences takes play to a whole new advanced level of fun.

Seedling, a New Zealand toy manufacturer, also provides an interactive Do-It-Yourself maker product, infusing a make-your-own-marble-maze kit, with an augmented reality experience. The Maze allows the users to literally have the experience of shrinking themselves down and walking through the maze paths, inserting their own pictures and selfies along the virtual reality pathways. Augmented and virtual reality at its personalized best!

3D Printing

HCM Kinzel: 3Doodler START
HCM Kinzel: 3Doodler START
XYZprinting Netherlands: da Vinci miniMaker
XYZprinting Netherlands: da Vinci miniMaker

3D Pens and 3D Printing will be on display at Tech2Play. The 3D Doodler Start Pen, represented by HCM Kinzel, will be demonstrated in the Tech2Play area, along with XYZ Printing’s da Vinci’s 3D pen and 3D printer machine. fischertechnik will also be featuring their latest 3D printer. Redwood Ventures, from the USA, also have affordable 3D pens available in their exhibitor booths.

Yes, technology has certainly enhanced toys and gaming in the past few years, and the range of offerings is continuing to expand. Staying abreast of these new developments, and focusing on what works best in each retailer channel will continue to be an evolving education, for both retailers and consumers.

 

Author of this article:

Reyne Rice, Toy Expert, New York

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