Spielwarenmesse: Toy innovations 2019: Electronic Toys

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Toy innovations 2019: Electronic Toys

from Peter Thomas

In 2019, there is a real emphasis within the electronic toys segment on combining traditional, digital and innovative play ideas with robots and drones. This is complemented by a focus on toy creativity and smart digital devices. Smartphones and tablets are bringing virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into play and facilitating the use of artificial intelligence (AI), voice recognition and intuitive controls.

Multitalented machines

Robots are ever more likely to be all-rounders in 2019. Take the modular PingPong IoT (Internet of Things) robot from Robot Factory (Hall 4A/D-08). Intuitive plug connectors make model building a piece of cake. The PaiTots from Pai Technology Limited (Hall 4A/B-30) also consist of different elements which can be used to create robots. Thanks to the graphical programming interface, children easily pick up computing skills through play.

VEX ROBOTICS Boxing Bots by HEXBUG (Hall 12.0/I-02)
VEX ROBOTICS Boxing Bots by HEXBUG (Hall 12.0/I-02)

Artibo from Cubroid (Hall 4A/C-34b) also understands block programming. It interacts with people via voice recognition and camera. While a tablet is used to program this robot, the Genius Toy Taiwan Co., Ltd. (Hall 5/B-35) reverses this principle with KIDS FIRST CODING & ROBOTICS: programs are created using paper cards, which are placed on the play area to be read and run by Sammy the robot.

Educational robot Gomer from Shen Zhen GLI Technology Limited (Hall 4A/A-16) reaches out for all kinds of objects with precision. The friendly assistant runs on rubber tracks and boasts facial recognition, among other features. The app-controlled VEX ROBOTICS Boxing Bots from HEXBUG (Hall 12.0/I-02), which are put together from more than 600 snap-together pieces meanwhile, go wheel to wheel in the boxing ring.

Smart controls

Remote-controlled (RC) toys are all about dynamic play – in the air and water and on the ground. Stadlbauer Marketing + Vertrieb GmbH from Austria (Hall 4A/C-20, D-29) demonstrates this with its Carrera RC brand: the shiny green Power Snake is capable of breath-taking stunts and the six-wheeler can even be rolled into a ball. Carrera boss Andreas Stadlbauer emphasised the importance of new ideas in well-established segments such as RC toys: “Through continuous development and new innovations, we want to keep offering Carrera RC fans new perspectives and an even more fun experience.”

Traditional remote control units are not even a must. Take the example of Sieper GmbH with its Siku brand (Hall 12.2/P-02): Siku tractors are controlled using the new SIKUCONTROL32 app for Android and iOS devices.

„DiscDrone“ by International Trade Service (Hall 4A/B-36)
„DiscDrone“ by International Trade Service (Hall 4A/B-36)

DiscDrone from France’s International Trade Service (Hall 4A/B-36) does not require any technical interface at all: the smart drone uses sensors to react to human movement and automatically alter its position.

New play dimensions

Electronic games are convincingly linking digital content with real environments using AR. LEGO GmbH (Hall 12.2/P-01) has now launched Playgrounds, following its initial AR applications in 2018. The app-based AR play world recognises specific Lego sets and brings them to life on the screen. Using the ARKit technology from Apple, up to two players can play in the virtual/real-world playgrounds. “In this way, we are bringing children very close to our innovation process”, explained Tom Donaldson, who heads up the Lego Group’s Creative Play Lab.

Interfaces between real play and the virtual world are becoming increasingly important for many age groups. Indian start-up PlayShifu (Hall 4A/C-17) is bringing its Minglings to virtual reality: children can use the wooden blocks to build fantastic creatures, which are then animated in the accompanying app on a tablet.

„Monster Park AR Kit“ by EASTCOLIGHT (HK) LIMITED (Hall 6/A-24)
„Monster Park AR Kit“ by EASTCOLIGHT (HK) LIMITED (Hall 6/A-24)

Children can become virtual dinosaur researchers, meanwhile, using the Monster Park AR Kit from EASTCOLIGHT (HK) LIMITED (Hall 6/A-24): once the fossilised dinosaur skeleton has been playfully unearthed, the bones combine to create very lively dinosaurs on the screen through augmented reality.

Intelligent electronics with WOW!

Making learning fun: children can experience the WOW Effect, one of the three big trends for the Spielwarenmesse® 2019, with the Deluxe Learning Kit from MARBOTIC SAS (Hall 3A/H-40). Using ABCs and digits made of wood, children “stamp” the letters and numbers onto an iPad. The tablet calls these out to them using the Bla Bla Box app for iOS devices.

Whether as educational toys such as interactive globes, smart upgrades of classic games such as digitally enhanced table football (CARROMCO GmbH & Co. KG, Hall 7/A-19) or programmable wearables (Tech Will Save Us, Hall 4A/A-28), it is clear in 2019 that electronic toys are now using smart technology more intelligently and comprehensively than ever to support play.


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Author of this article:

Peter Thomas, Journalist

Mentioned product groups:

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