Spielwarenmesse: Electronic toys at the Spielwarenmesse: Tinkerbots has been there from the very start

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Electronic toys at the Spielwarenmesse: Tinkerbots has been there from the very start

from Spielwarenmesse eG

Kinematics GmbH initially exhibited at the Spielwarenmesse's Tech2Play area; in 2019 visitors can find the company in the new Electronic Toys product group in Hall 4A. In our interview, Udo Meining, the new managing director of Kinematics GmbH, reports on how he assesses the development of the new Electronic Toys product group.


You place high demands on robotic toys. What criteria make your Tinkerbots especially easy for children to handle?

Photo Udo Meining, managing director of Kinematics GmbH
Udo Meining, managing director of Kinematics GmbH

Udo Meining: Our Tinkerbots are very easy to assemble. Understanding the sets and the way they work is easy and quick, and the app is easy to navigate.

Is it also a toy for adults? What makes it so?

U.M.: The sets are also fun for adults because of how easy they are to get to grips with and because of the guidance that the app gives them. There's no right or wrong way; it's just a matter of having fun using it. What is more, their compatibility with Lego bricks increases people's creativity and gives them more options when it comes to combining things.

At Spielwarenmesse® 2019, the Tech2Play special area is now being transformed into the independent product group of Electronic Toys. What do you expect from your presence in Hall 4A?

U.M.: We hope that there will be more and greater interest in our products in general. Unfortunately, we still see a great deal of "backwardness" in Germany when it comes to dealing with simple programming, robotics and tech products. That's why we would like to eliminate and reduce peoples' misgivings as well as their continuing misunderstanding with regard to programming and coding.

On the international crowdfunding website Indiegogo, you had pre-orders for more than 800 kits worth about $300,000 in just 45 days in the spring of 2014. Where did the most interest come from at that time?

U.M.: The biggest amount of interest came from the USA, followed by Germany. Especially in the US, parents, educators, and toy retailers have recognized the need to teach children programming skills in a playful way. Our Tinkerbots were welcomed with open arms over there.

In the meantime, you've been selling your products worldwide. Which markets do you feel show the greatest interest in teaching children to program in an entertaining way?

Robotics Starter Set, Advanced Robotics Set, Mega Robotics Set
Robotics Set by Kinematics

U.M.: Our best results are in Russia and in China. There's a lot of interest in our products there. The potential for education and teaching has been recognized in these countries, and our products are also used in classrooms.

And how do you "crack" people that you sense have a more Luddite attitude towards technology?

U.M.: I simply give these "doubting Thomases" a mobile phone or a tablet with our app and let them play about with it. It doesn't take long before you see them smile or grin. I also explain that you don't need an Internet connection and that the app only has to be downloaded once and everything else can be controlled via Bluetooth.

Thank you for the interview, Mr Meining.


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