Tag Archives: toys

RollyCat Pet Toy at Gadget Show Live



RollyCatCats are possibly the laziest animals on the planet but they shouldn’t be completely indolent. They need regular exercise but it needs to be on their terms and most cats won’t go on a lead for walkies. At Gadget Show Live, Raido from Wazombi Labs tells me about RollyCat, the world’s first cat companion and fitness tracker.

RollyCat BallThe RollyCat is small remote controlled ball which coaxes the cat into play. It can work in two modes, one manual and one automatic. In the manual mode, the owner can control the ball from his (or her) smartphone via a RollyCat app. In automatic mode, the RollyCat teases the cat with the occasional movements to encourage the cat to play.

RollyCat AppMuch like any activity tracker, the cat’s play is tracked and recorded in the smartphone app. At the end of the day, the owner can review the cat’s activity and see whether the pussy has been getting enough exercise for the breed, age and weight. The RollyCat learns from the cat’s behaviour to encourage it to play at the most active time.

The RollyCat charges wirelessly via a small pad and communicates with the owner’s smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The ball can go around 4 days between charges.

Regrettably, RollyCat’s Indiegogo campaign didn’t reach its target of $50,000 so the project is on hold. If there’s any further news on the RollyCat, I’ll update GNC readers when I hear.


Toys for Christmas 2014



Minecraft FiguresOnce Hallowe’en is over, the holiday seasons begins in earnest with both children and parents thinking about Christmas presents and toys. Unsurprisingly, the Toy Retailers Association for the UK and Ireland is happy to give some advice on what it considers to be the likely favourites for Santa Claus’ sack and in the festive spirit, here are their top twelve toys of Christmas.

  • Bop-It! Beats from Hasbro
  • Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa from JAKKS Pacific
  • Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll from Mattel
  • Kidizoom Smart Watch from VTech
  • Little Live Pets Bird Cage from Character Options
  • Minecraft Figures (Assorted) from Character Options
  • My Friend Cayla from Vivid Toy Group
  • Nerf Demolisher 2-in-1 from Hasbro
  • Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP! from LEGO
  • Toot-Toot Animals Safari Park from VTech
  • Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock from Hasbro
  • Zoomer Dino – Boomer from Spin Master Toys

KiddiZoom SmartWatchAside from the fact that Disney’s Frozen features twice, the other item that stands out is the VTech’s Kidizoom SmartWatch. Smartwatches are hardly mainstream items, yet here they are. At a retail price of less than GB£40, these have to be the cheapest smartwatches available, with some great features, including lots of different analogue and digital clock faces, a colour touch screen, built-in camera, voice recorder (with effects), games and a rechargeable battery. I think there are some adult smartwatches with fewer features!

 


BeeWi Combat Toys



BeeWi LogoTodd and Don have some fun with Tobias Schoeler from French wireless specialists, BeeWi, and on show at CES are Bluetooth battle robots. Controlled from a smartphone app, the robots can fight against themselves or other BeeWi remote controlled toys including helicopters. Very cool and lots of fun.

The robots will be available in the first half of 2014 priced at US$35 and will be supported on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. More information and more toys at www.bee-wi.com.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor, and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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The Royal Baby



With the world going ga-ga (or goo-goo) over the Royal baby, it’s inevitable that memorabilia and souvenirs will start appearing in short order. However I was somewhat surprised that my first promotional email, received just a scant two hours after the announcement, was not a medallion or plate but a toy from The Early Learning Centre, a children’s store. Check out this commemorative set, the HappyLand Royal Baby Set.

HappyLand Royal Baby Set

Congratulations to the ELC’s marketing team for their rapid response to the happy event.

 


The My Learning Table by D-Redshop



My Learning TableD-Redshop introduced their newest learning device for children, the My Learning Table. They took the idea of the old fashion learning table by Fisher Price and brought it into the twenty-first century. The table works in conjunction with the My Learning App available on the iPad which goes in the middle of the table. The My Learning App has different games to play depending on the learning level of the child. Each game helps the child to learn something like the alphabet, numbers, color matching, eye-hand coordination and more. It is based on the award system. The idea is to integrated touch with physical interaction. Children learn while have fun at the same time. The My Learn Mini is similar to the My Learning Table, expect that the mini is separate from the tablet. Great for times and circumstances when the My Learn Table is not practicable. It works with the My Learning Mini App on the iPad.

The My Learning Table should be available for around $100.00 at various retail stores. D-redshop the maker of the Learning Table is looking for developers to develop apps for the My Learning suite. Further information about developing for the My Learning suit is available contacting D-Redshop.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net and Daniel J. Lewis of the The Noodle.mx Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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Modular Robotics: Cubelets Robotic Construction Kits



Modular Robotics Modular Robotics have created small robotic cubes that can be hooked together using magnets. Each cube is program to do a different task including a drive block, a battery block, a block that senses distance and more. The cubelets can be used by young kids who simply snap the blocks together, but they are also programmable making them great for a student or adult that is learning to code. The newest cubelet is a bluetooth block which can be controlled remotely. There is an Android app, the Cublet Control which you can use as a control.  The bluetooth cubelet can be re-coded using C code. Modular Robotics have found that when they give the cubes to kids, they just attack them and start linking them together. Adults are more cautious in using them.

The starter kit has six blocks in it and is sold on the website for $160.00. Modular Robotics also sells individual cubes. They hope to have the product in toy stores by the holiday season. All production is done in Boulder, Co. If you a young child who is interested in how things work or a student who is starting to learn basic programming then Modular Robotics’ cubelets maybe the perfect gift for them.

Interview by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Fisher Price Kid-Tough® DVR Demo @ CES 2012



Fisher Price
Leave it to Fisher Price maker of great toys for kids and the kids in all of us to make a DVR that is kid friendly. That is what they were showing at CES 2012 the Kid-Tough® DVR.

The Kid-Tough® DVR is made for 3-5 year olds. It is rugged and easy to use. There is a touch screen kids can use to scan through the available videos. When they are ready to play a video just tap on the screen and it will start playing. They can also fast forward or rewind through a video. To record a video you just place the DVR into its dock which sits between your cable box and the TV, set the record time and hit record.

The Kid-Tough® DVR will be available around June-July. It will be approximately $150.00 and include the DVR, headphones, docking station, a car charger and a case. If you have a small child and take a lot of car trips this is worth a look

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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Angry Birds Christmas Goodies



If you can’t get enough of Rovio‘s Angry Birds (or Angly Birds as my daughter says), then you can satisfy your avian needs over at the Angry Birds on-line store. I’ve seen Angry Birds toys gradually appearing in shops, but I’d no idea there was such a wide range of things, from the expected soft toys to children’s costumes.

Angry Birds Fancy Dress Costume

Anyway, as we’re now officially in the run-up to Christmas, the Angry Birds store has a festive selection from Christmas stockings to tree decorations.

Blue Bird Christmas StockingChristmas Tree Decorations

The Bad Piggies Egg Recipes looks like an eggscellent (sorry) stocking-filler with around 40 egg-based recipes from the classics to the more interesting – the table of contents is shown on the website.

Bad Piggies Egg Recipes

There’s plenty of other merchandise to choose from too, including iPhone cases and flip-flops! Prices feel a little high at times for what are novelty items but the shop does appear to ship worldwide.


Magazines are iPads That Don’t Work



Watch the video below and let me know how you feel after watching it, but for the purposes of discussion, remember two things first. One, to avoid any pro- or anti-Apple bias, ignore the fact that it’s an Apple iPad and assume that it’s just a generic tablet. Two, take what the video shows at face value as one could easily make a case that some of the actions with the magazines are normal behaviour and don’t show anything special.

Add your comments below. I’ll chip in later.


Quirky – Social Product Development



I love these entrepreneurial websites such as Kickstarter. It’s a vicarious pleasure in seeing other people’s ideas and helping these people succeed by investing in their products. I found a new one today – Quirky – which I think takes the idea development to the next level. Quirky refer to it as a “A Socially Developed Product (TM)” and they help you take a product from the idea through product development to production and sales.

Here’s Quirky’s product development process.

The Quirky Process (courtesy of Quirky)

What seems to be unique about Quirky (and to be fair, I haven’t exhaustively researched the topic) is that part of the process is to encourage feedback from Quirky members to improve the product. They call it “community curation”. It’s a great idea especially if it leads to better products.

Taking it further, Quirky has this notion of influence. You earn influence by submitting ideas or commenting on products, and influence converts into a proportion of the profit from those objects that you worked on. The explanation is a bit opaque in places and I’d be interested to see what sort of money people make but it seems to be way to reward everyone who helped make the product a success.

There are some really interesting products on the site and the one that currently has my eye is the Converge docking station. It’s probably less docking station and more charging station but it looks great and solves a problem that many of us have.

The Converge is in pre-sale and so far it looks like it has garnered only 69 orders out of the 1300 needed to put it into production, so I don’t know how many products actually make it from pre-sale to production.

Overall, I like the idea and I’ll be following along but with all of these things, exercise caution. If you’ve got a great idea, it might be an excellent place to get a product into the market. But you need to read the small print and understand ownership of the intellectual property and design, your portion of the profit and so on – I haven’t delved into any of these things yet. If you aren’t happy, walk away.