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  • Thom Hines 7:28 pm on February 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Toys, Toys, Toys 

    Taking advantage of our time off from class yesterday, a large group of us went to to the Toy Fair for the greater part of the afternoon. The show was huge, almost overwhelming, and like Yuri said, just the time to walk the floor without even stopping to look would take hours. Fortunately, a lot of booths were obviously not worth stopping at, which gave a few of us guys a chance to spend more time at the fun ones.

    My favorite section was definitely where the hi-tech electronic toys were being shown. This section of the show had tons of tows that were doing new and interesting things, and seemed to be experimenting more with product character in much more interactive ways. One of the first that got me pretty excited was Tandars, a little forest creature that has a lot of functionality built into a cute, little body.

    The booth itself is actually what first attracted me to Tandars. With its forest-like appearance, it really stood out. The booth really added to the ambient feel of the toy, and it placed the creature in his natural habitat. It was perfect. The creature has sensors all over it’s body so that it detects touching and petting, and proximity sensors to detect when something or someone is nearby. It apparently has over 50 “phrases”, which combined with its eye motions and moving ears, really gives you the impression that it is alive and has emotions. Also, if you get two tandars next to each other, they detect each other through IR and communicate. The lady working the booth was obviously really happy to show him off, and she seemed to really have a bond with her Tandars.


    Around the corner from there was a game I had recently heard about but didn’t understand until I saw it. Tetris Link is essentially Tetris meets Connect 4. I played most of a round with Andy, Scott and the girl who was working the booth. It was definitely a lot of fun, a nice adaptation of a video game into the board game realm.

    Tetris Link in action

    And here we are playing with the giant tetris pieces. Scott was trying to use his piece to ruin my place in the photo, just like he tried to do in the game.

    Tetris Link booth


    And the product I saw the most potential in, as far as finding ways for the concepts and technology to be adapted and used by a variety of companies and businesses, is the video game Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. Instead of saving your game progress and character to the memory on the console, all of your attributes are stored in a small action figure which gets placed on the “portal” hooked up to your game machine (in this case, a Wii). As you build up your character and make advancements, those things get stored in the memory chip of the action figure itself. Then, when you go to play at a friends house or on a different system, you can just set your character on their portal and play with your character. Another interesting feature is the ability to swap out characters at any time. I can see a lot of strategic potential for using one character instead of another at different points in a game.

    The portal itself seems to have some pretty cool tech in it. Figurines only need be placed on it, and almost instantly all of the connections are made and the character is in the game. When a new figurine is placed on top, the portal changes color, depending on the type of power that character has. And with each action you make in the game, the portal seamlessly syncs up the figurine to reflect the character’s latest stats.

    Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure

    The figurines are just about three inches tall and feel like the figurines we saw all over the show, but knowing that the character in the game that you may have spent hours building up and developing makes it seem more special. It’s as if the figurine somehow was that video game character, and vice versa. One of the guys at the show booth mentioned that this development could have a deeper level of meaning, too, when kids started to trade their figurines or started collecting them. A level 7 character would be more valuable than a level 3, and perhaps the rarity or specialness of certain characters would provide a built-in sort of stock market for these characters. Could be interesting, and I really look forward to seeing where this kind of technology goes.

    Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure figures

  • scottpeterman 4:33 am on February 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Toy Fair 


    I was pretty intrigued by the spyro the dragon action figure/game combo. I’m sure some of this is due to great personal fondness for the original ps1 spyro the dragon video games, but this fairly pedestrian but fun seeming cooperative action-brawl game looked fun enough on its own using the wii controls. The game itself was secondary to the character system, which featured a pad that allowed the player to place one of 30 spyro action figures on the included pad accessory and play as that action figure in game, making up a total of 8 classes of powers. Game status/unlockables/upgrades are all stored to the action figure and can travel cross-platform. Sure it’s an excuse to make more $ from a game, but at least it’s doing it by doing something cool. Also, you can play coop by putting any two action figures on the pad. Very neat.


    These Tandars were pretty detailed! Sure they still kinda look like Furbies/Gizmo, but their faces were so advanced. Their eyes were so bizarre and glistening, and they really had so many distinct expressions. So creepy, with their little human baby faces. Pretty cool that puppets of 25 years ago, that took 5-10 pioneers, can now really be approximated by a reasonably priced electronic toy. Now someone needs to make something that ISN’T a gremlin…


    These toys were really cool, and example of a very simple and reproducible mechanical element. This playset was really neat, the battle element very engaging. Plus the guy who showed us the booth turned out to be the lead product designer. He pretty much does the whole thing himself, and these toys are pretty big. Interesting conversation!

  • Alvaro Soto 12:41 am on February 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Toy day Extravaganza 

    Very cool visit to the Toy fair, my Favorite things I have to be honest, considering we are working with technology, are the wooden toys, but is not because they don’t have any technology. I like is the simplicity and detail in design. yet, these toys manage to have a very appealing look for children. I Think a very cool project would be to reconsider these wooden toys embedding technology playing with the contrast between the design detail and the fascination of technology in toys.

    Here are some of my favorite toys:

    My other favorite is this Chamaleon by Think Geek. I find it very fun to use, but I like the idea of the many possibilities one could do with the same technology.

    I also like them because they gave me one….

    Finally the floating fishes are so cool they have this kinetic movement on them that attracks people. Besides they are flying making no noise and are fishes on the air of course

    Last but not least a picture of Naz as a Kauzebot

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