Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Toys

The Nerf Vulcan Sentry Gun automatically locates targets and unleashes a stream of foam da...

Anyone who plays video games will know that few things protect an area like a well-placed sentry gun. In the real world, though, even a person's bedroom or office could use a little protection sometimes, which is why one designer has built the Nerf Vulcan Sentry Gun. Using a custom program and some servos, the sentry can automatically locate targets and unleash a stream of foam darts at over seven times the usual speed, while keeping its owner out of the crosshairs.  Read More

Robugtix's T8 is an 8-legged robot that will scare the bejeezus out of unsuspecting victim...

Legged robot kits aren't anything new, but unlike its competition, the T8 octopod comes with a disturbingly realistic 3D-printed exoskeleton that is sure to make an unforgettable first impression. Robugtix (a robotics company based in Hong Kong) is living up to its name with the lifelike robot tarantula, and it can be yours later this year for an introductory price of US$1,350.  Read More

Screen capture from the Anki Drive app, highlighting its AI street smarts

Name a toy car that follows lines while navigating. A hundred years ago you would've answered slot cars, which use a physical line. Twenty years ago saw the mass production of toys that use optical sensors to navigate a printed line. This generation's new racing wonder toy, Anki Drive, still uses optical sensors to navigate an invisible line, but can adopt numerous racing strategies, detect other cars and conditions on the track, and react instantly. While nominally the successor in the toy race car market, Anki Drive arguably has more in common with a Google driverless car than it does with its scaled toy counterparts, and Anki has grander ambitions in the field of autonomous robotics.  Read More

The self-transforming robot toy revealed by Takara Tomy at Tokyo Toy Show 2013

Remember that awesome transforming robot built by the one-man wonder Kenji Ishida? Well, apparently Takara Tomy took notice of it after videos of the robot went viral last year and is developing its own mass-market version under the official Transformers banner. They showed the automatically transforming toy alongside a robotic lion from its Zoids line, both controlled with an iPhone, at Tokyo Toy Show 2013.  Read More

The Nano-Falcon easily sits in the palm of your hand

Namco Bandai subsidiary CCP toys has launched its Nano-Falcon remote-controlled helicopter toy, which it claims is the world's smallest. The Nano-Falcon, which is designed for indoor flight, has a body size of just 6.5 cm (2.5 in) long and weighs a scant 11 g (0.38 oz). The infrared controller, which takes four AA alkaline batteries, has a range of just 5 m (16 ft), which may be a good thing, lest you lose sight of it!  Read More

Tek Recon offers a blaster and an integrated app to make real world play like an FPS

What happens when you combine a popular first-person shooter like Call of Duty with toy guns like Nerf? You get the Tek Recon, a new product that takes what we loved about those blaster guns as a kid and mashes in some modern twists that can only be delivered with the rise in popularity of smartphones. It certainly looks like an interesting way for kids (or adults) to get outside and play with their friends.  Read More

Sony and Lego team up to add life to Lego bricks

Concerned that youngsters are showing a preference for video games at the expense of traditional toys, Lego has reportedly teamed up with the enemy, partnering with Sony to develop prototype Lego bricks embedded with electronics that they’ve dubbed “Toy Alive.”  Read More

The Solar Chaser is a solar-powered cat toy – hey, why not?

Cats may love batting at tantilizingly-dangled kitty toys, but most of us can’t dangle those toys for our felines all day long – not even by remote control. The Solar Chaser was designed to pick up the slack, using an integrated solar panel to power its toy-bobbing arm.  Read More

Quadru-bot is just one of the kit's 14 forms

Robots made for kids tend to move in a way that can only be described as lurching. The 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot Kit puts that expectation to good use with its shambling Zombie-Bot model, but with thirteen other forms, it can also mimic several animals, wheeled transportation, robots, and even multiple seafaring contraptions. As it's equipped with a solar panel you'll never have to have to find a battery charger.  Read More

MusicMachine's futuristic looks contain an old-fashioned music box

Though it may bring to mind a Star Wars starfighter model, or perhaps a top-secret military jet concept, the futuristic-looking MusicMachine by Reuge and MB&F is in fact a fully-functional music box.  Read More

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