Spielwarenmesse: Technological adventurous play

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Technological adventurous play

from Maria Costa

In many ways, technology is associated to indoor play. But beyond passive screen time, companies are creating interesting options to encourage kids to play actively outside while using technological toys. A lot of new options are coming up that will appeal to the new generation of children, and even their parents!

High-tech versions of traditional outdoor games

One interesting fact is that companies are looking at ways to incorporate technological features to the most common traditional toys and games. Vai Kai's Avakai is a great example presented at the Spielwarenmesse® 2016. Avakai is a line of intuitive connected wooden toys that combine tech and tradition. Children can play games, such as hide and seek, with them in an innovative way, receiving haptic feedback as the toy responds to the proximity to the child who is hiding and also holding a toy.

Child playing with Vai Kai Avakai
Vai Kai's Avakai in action
Vai Kai  Avakei at Spielwarenmesse 2016
Vai Kai's Avakai at Spielwarenmesse® 2016

Playing beyond sedentary gaming

Products such as the Disney Playmation combine active play with video-game features to create a new hybrid game. With this wearable toy the player is required to run jump, shoot, hide, stand still, et cetera, while listening to sound effects and a narration. Moreover, it tracks the performance as well as the progress and upgrades the possibilities of the game. Kids might really want to play more, which means they might move more!

The introduction of technology in physical activities is even encouraging children to play certain sports. There are new gadgets that the toy industry is launching to the market to enhance sports such as biking, skating, or swimming. The Kidizoom Action Cam by Vtech, a recording camera for children playing sports is a good example of these kind of toys.

Another product worth mentioning is the Slackers Flying Saucer LED Swing Seat, a seat with LED lights that can be attached to any zipline and is designed to make the ziplining experience more fun and engaging for both boys and girls.

Engaging adults to play outdoors with tech-toys

WonderTech drones
WonderTech drones at Spielwarenmesse® 2016

This is not only a trend that impacts both genders, technological toys are having a great influence on other target groups as well. Adults are going into toy stores, not to buy toys for their kids, but for themselves. This development is in part related to the rising popularity of drones.

There are so many drones right now that it is difficult to give you only a few examples. During the last toy fair in Nuremberg, I was especially amazed by the proposals presented by companies such as Wonder Tech and Silverlit which presented drones that combine real flying with virtual reality.

Beyond drones, there are other products that became really successful among adults and teens in the last Christmas campaigns. For instance, the Dareway revolution distributed by Feber or the popular self-balancing scooters from brands such as Drifterz or Gostboards. These last ones are called Hoverboards by some people as they are designed to get a similar experience to the flying boards that Marty McFly used in the films Back to the future II and III.

And there are more innovations in these types of products coming soon to the market. In 2016 we saw in the Spielwarenmesse® the eball 360º, a board that rolls on a ball that allows omnidirectional movements, and really looked by something created by a crazy scientist.

eball 360º at Spielwarenmesse 2016
eball 360º at Spielwarenmesse® 2016
Hoverboard Technologies
Hoverboard Technologies at Spielwarenmesse® 2016

The company Hoverboard Technologies is developing boards with stunning designs and an amazing range of features, for instance the possibility to DJ your own Hoverboard adventure hearing articulate status and warnings, the option to charge your phone, et cetera. No doubts these toys are going to appeal to adults, teens and children as well that are going to be able to enjoy a shared experience with their parents or older siblings.

Prospects for technological adventurous play

Society and the industry should think about technology as an opportunity to create technological toys beyond the passive view of screens. The fact is that many toys with technical features are being developed in a way that provide great chances for both children and adults to be active, to play outdoors and to engage in adventurous and fun activities.

 

Author of this article:

Maria Costa, AIJU

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