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Toys

Electrical engineer Charles Sharman noticed several years ago that as they got older, the children he taught at Sunday School tended to migrate from Lego and other building toys to video games. He wanted them to keep creating, so he started a company called Seven:Twelve Engineering and began designing a building toy that could hold the attention of these older kids. That toy is called Crossbeams, and it can be used to design and assemble a huge range of toys – including big, detailed, moving cars and helicopters.

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People have actually claimed to have seen living pterosuars – just Google the word "ropen" – although those alleged sightings tend to be confined to far-flung places such as Papua New Guinea. That could be about to change, however, if a new Kickstarter campaign is successful. Ohio-based PaulG Toys is raising production funds for a radio-controlled pterodactyl, that actually flies by flapping its wings. Read More
Today, an interactive toy is more often than not a chatty teddy bear with a very limited repertoire, but Elemental Path is developing a "CogniToy" that would relegate such toys to the dunce's chair. The Dino CogniToy isn't just a plastic dinosaur with a chip, it's a plastic dinosaur connected to IBM's Watson artificially intelligent computer system, which makes it not simply interactive, but also a toy that can "evolve, learn, and grow" with a child. Read More
Anki has announced the latest iteration of its smartphone-controlled robotic car racing game. Anki Overdrive builds on the previous Anki Drive by adding modular tracks, along with improved car designs, new AI personalities to battle against, and additional gameplay modes. Read More
It might seem strange that Gizmag spent a good chunk of the busy month of January playing with toys at two major toy fairs, London and Nuremberg. The toy segment is following consumer technology closely, though, and many of the same trends that we see at major shows like CES and IFA are also evident at the international toy fairs ... only in smaller, simpler, more child-friendly packages. Proclaimed as the world's biggest toy fair, the Nuremberg Toy Fair ("Spielwarenmesse" in German), which wrapped up earlier this week, gave us a good feel for how toy companies are incorporating the latest technologies, including robotics and connectivity. Read More
When you were a kid, did you ever have one of those toy race cars that was powered by a wound-up rubber band? If you did, chances are it wasn't quite as striking as Cirin. Modeled after mid-1950s Formula 1 cars, the one-off mini racer features state-of-the-art construction, and 16 ft (5 m) of looped elastic that allows it to travel 500 ft (152 m) at speeds of up to 30 mph (48 km/h). Read More
A new car racing game is bridging the real and the digital worlds. 3DRacers makes use of 3D printing, Arduino-based electronics and smartphone control. Users can design their own cars, 3D print them at home or via 3D Hubs, customize their performance and control them via a mobile app. Read More
Hi-tech toy firm WowWee showcased a couple of its upcoming offerings at the London Toy Fair last week. Its REV cars allow users to battle each other in either single- or multi-player modes. The MiPosaur, meanwhile, is a robotic dinosaur that responds to gestures. Read More
Meccano is one of those toys with a very strong nostalgia element, involving memories of hours spent bolting together a toy wheelbarrow or a coffee table-size Forth Bridge. But 21st century kids relate more to smartphones than traveling cranes, so Meccano has come up with its Meccanoid G15 KS – a kit robot that can be programmed using motion capture. Read More

If you were gifted a drone for Christmas, then the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has you in its sights. It may not be in the form of long-awaited laws for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are due later this year, but is a campaign directed at rookie pilots whose expertise may be outstripped by their unbridled enthusiasm. Read More

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