Parrot Plans to Launch Five New MiniDrone Toys in September

Parrot is introducing five new smartphone-controlled MiniDrone toys, ranging from $99 to $189, targeting consumers who cannot afford the larger, more expensive UAVs such as Parrot’s AR and Bebop Drones. Based on the Rolling Spider quadcopter and the two-wheeled Jumping Sumo, which have sold 600,000 units combined since last year’s launches, the new models will initially be made available in the U.S. and France this September. The new models include drones that skim across water, fly at night guided by LED lights, feature live streaming cameras and more. Continue reading Parrot Plans to Launch Five New MiniDrone Toys in September

Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

Mattel plans to release Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi connected doll with voice recognition software that allows users to engage in basic conversations with the doll. The tech enabled Barbie, which will be available later this fall for $74.99, is connected to the cloud so that once it records a user’s dialogue, it transmits the information to a server, which then aggregates appropriate responses for the doll. Hello Barbie’s voice recognition software comes from San Francisco startup ToyTalk. Continue reading Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

LeapFrog Struggles in Tech Driven Market for Children’s Toys

Once a top seeded player in the educational toys and games industry, LeapFrog is having trouble competing with app developers in today’s highly tech driven market for children’s toys. In 2011, it became one of the first companies to launch a successful tablet for kids, only to be pushed out of the market a few years later by the ubiquitous presence of the iPad and other tablets. Since then LeapFrog has had no choice but to drop prices on a device that once made up half its annual revenue. Continue reading LeapFrog Struggles in Tech Driven Market for Children’s Toys

Pepper: SoftBank to Launch its Sophisticated Consumer Robot

SoftBank has plans to release a line of consumer robots in Tokyo this summer. The humanoid robot, known as Pepper, stands four feet tall, rolls around on wheels and effectively engages in simple conversations with people. The company predicts that robots will one day emerge as the next mass-market technology assisting people in a wide variety of applications. Pepper, developed by French subsidiary Aldebaran Robotics, will be connected to SoftBank’s mobile network in Japan that currently has about 37 million subscribers.  Continue reading Pepper: SoftBank to Launch its Sophisticated Consumer Robot

Talking Smart Toys to Run on Watson Supercomputing System

Toy-making company Elemental Path unveiled the first connected smart toy to be powered by IBM’s Watson cognitive supercomputing system. A talking dinosaur is the first in the line of smart toys known as CogniToys. The dinosaur has speech recognition capabilities and it can have conversations with children, answering a wide range of their questions. Elemental Path’s Kickstarter campaign has already more than doubled its goal of raising $50,000 to start producing the smart toys. Continue reading Talking Smart Toys to Run on Watson Supercomputing System

Invention Machine Quirky Puts Emphasis on Internet of Things

In 2011, Manhattan-based Quirky turned a college student’s idea for an adjustable power strip into a successful retail story. Since then, the company, which has deemed itself somewhat of a digital destination for inventions, has helped commercialize nearly 400 products. Quirky has initiated a corporate partnership program and is gearing its focus towards Internet connected products such as light switches and air conditioners that can be controlled by smartphones or a Wi-Fi network at home.  Continue reading Invention Machine Quirky Puts Emphasis on Internet of Things

Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

Mattel has announced a partnership with Google to revive the toymaker’s iconic View-Master device. In place of cardboard discs with stereoscopic images, the updated toy will incorporate the View-Master app on a user’s mobile phone and deliver a true virtual reality experience. The technology used for the View-Master is identical to that which powers Google Cardboard, and like Cardboard, the View-Master was designed to make VR affordable. The View-Master will retail for $30 and be available later this year. Continue reading Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Google is becoming a major player in same-day package deliveries, taking on the likes of Amazon and eBay this holiday shopping season. The Google Express service — currently available in cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — handled 50 percent more toys during the two weeks after Thanksgiving, while book sales jumped more than 30 percent. Analysts estimate that up to 40 percent of Google’s core search business is tied to e-commerce. Continue reading Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Disney Imagicademy Develops New Learning Apps for Children

Disney Publishing Worldwide is developing a series of learning apps for children. The apps belong to a greater learning initiative called Disney Imagicademy aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 8. Under Imagicademy, Disney plans to launch as many as 30 apps to cover a wide range of academic subjects. The company also plans to release books and interactive toys to complement the apps. Disney expects these toys to encourage active participation in completing game lessons. Continue reading Disney Imagicademy Develops New Learning Apps for Children

Nintendo Characters Come to Life with Interactive Gameplay

Nintendo recently released a Wii U version of the popular “Super Smash Bros.” in addition to a series of Amiibo toy figurines designed for interactive gameplay. While facing the growing popularity of less expensive games for mobile devices, Nintendo has also recently struggled to compete with other console manufacturers, leading to disappointing overall sales of its Wii U. Nintendo hopes that the Amiibo line can reignite interest in some of its most beloved characters such as Mario and Luigi. Continue reading Nintendo Characters Come to Life with Interactive Gameplay

Toymaker Hasbro in Talks to Purchase DreamWorks Animation

Rhode Island-based Hasbro, manufacturer of popular toys including G.I. Joe, Mr. Potato Head, My Little Pony and Transformers, is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation. Hasbro would pay a mix of cash and stock according to current terms of the proposed deal. DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is said to be looking for more than $30 a share for the sale. The news comes shortly after Japanese telecom SoftBank was reported to be a prospective buyer. Continue reading Toymaker Hasbro in Talks to Purchase DreamWorks Animation

Speech Recognition Tech: Kids Speak with Animated Characters

Pixar vets Oren Jacob and Martin Reddy launched San Francisco-based ToyTalk, a startup that develops mobile games that enable children to have extended conversations with animated characters. The concept was inspired by a Skype call when Jacob’s then 7-year-old daughter asked if she could speak with one of her dolls. While kids can hear characters speak through movies, games and toys, Jacob began thinking about how to help children better engage with the characters. Continue reading Speech Recognition Tech: Kids Speak with Animated Characters

Gartner Report Says 3D Printing Not Quite Ready for the Home

Gartner analysts estimate that 3D printing our own food, gifts, shoes and other products is at least five to 10 years away. In a report released earlier this week, Gartner suggested that the 3D printing of product models is two years away from its peak usage, while mainstream adoption of 3D printing for medical applications is about two to five years away. Although the technology is advancing and printers are coming down in price, the concept is not quite ready for everyday use in the home. Continue reading Gartner Report Says 3D Printing Not Quite Ready for the Home

Amazon 3D Printing Store Offers iPhone Cases, Bobble Heads

Amazon launched its 3D Printing Store yesterday, which allows users to customize pre-made designs and order 3D printed products. Printing labs such as 3DLT, Mixee and Sculpteo have partnered with Amazon to include their popular designs. Amazon’s store presently features more than 200 designs for games, home decor, jewelry, tech accessories, toys and more that can be altered by color, size and thickness. Users can also add text, their name and other small touches. Continue reading Amazon 3D Printing Store Offers iPhone Cases, Bobble Heads

New Hasbro Site Turns Amateur Creations into 3D Printed Toys

Toy maker Hasbro and 3D printing service Shapeways have teamed up to bring the power of toy design to the hands of consumers. The two companies launched the SuperFanArt site for My Little Pony toys. Users can create, share and even sell their pony designs through the Shapeways’ marketplace. The first 3D printed My Little Pony toys will be shown at Comic-Con this week. Hasbro plans to add more of its brands to the SuperFanArt site later in the year. Continue reading New Hasbro Site Turns Amateur Creations into 3D Printed Toys

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