Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Toys

Takara Tomy's Auto Mee S can clean a tablet screen in about 8 minutes

Japanese toy giant Takara Tomy has unveiled what could be the ultimate unnecessary accessory for your tablet or smartphone – a mini Roomba-like cleaning "robot" called the Auto Mee S. The gadget features two rotating cleaning pads which can clear away greasy fingerprints and annoying dust particles, and it's smart enough to automatically turn around when it reaches the edge of your device.  Read More

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies has unveiled its H-ROVER – a camera-equipped, fuel cell-pow...

It’s probably safe to say that most of us will never get the chance to operate a Mars rover. While it is now possible to purchase remote-control miniature buggies with onboard cameras, most of them still seem like ... well, like toys. The H-ROVER, however, is a little different. Looking like it would be right at home trundling across the Martian topsoil, the little tracked vehicle is powered by a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell and super-capacitor system.  Read More

ModiBots can be modified with more than 700 parts (Photo: Wayne Losey)

The ModiBots, a line of poseable action figures which can be outfitted with all sorts of accessories, sell for around US$15 apiece, which isn't much more than what you'd expect to pay for any other toy at retail. The difference is that these aren't being churned out in massive quantities by a major manufacturer – they're available for purchase online via Shapeways' 3D print-on-demand service. It's an example of how entrepreneurs are taking advantage of 3D printing technology to build new businesses.  Read More

Sliding panels made from wood and perspex are slotted into grooves in the coffee table to ...

Parents know that it's all too easy to suddenly find your house swamped with toys ... so anything that can help keep your living room stylish, while also being fun for your little one, has obvious appeal. Qubis Haus is just such an item. It's a coffee table which transforms into a doll house, with the simple addition of sliding panels made from wood and perspex.  Read More

With a companion app, the Fisher Price Little People Apptivity Barnyard allows interactive...

If you're of a certain age, the chances are you had, or at least played with, a Fisher Price farm set when you were younger. Well, the toy manufacturer has recently revealed an updated barnyard set which incorporates an iPad case to create a virtual farm which recognizes and interacts with figures when they're placed on the screen. Consider it your childhood, upgraded.  Read More

ONE: multi-ringed calendar and magnetic designer corporate play-thing

For much of the socio-economic West, new year is set to roll around in approximately 14 days. For South Korean designer Jeong Yong, the rolling around is likely to occur literally as well as figuratively, being that Yong is the designer of the ONE Table Calendar, a multi-ringed calendar and magnetic designer corporate play-thing.  Read More

This light-avoiding robot is made from a combination of ATOMS and craft materials

Michael Rosenblatt, design lead behind the first iPod touch, has a point to make about toys. Not all toys. Just the best kind: the ones that enable children (and grown-ups, let's be honest) to create things, be it from LEGO, K-NEX, crayons, paints or Play-Doh. The thing is, they're generally a little on the inert side. With ATOMS from ATOMS Express Toys, Rosenblatt is hoping to redress the balance with a series of modules that can be fitted to other toys (including LEGO) to effectively turn them into moving and sensing robots.  Read More

Drive Suits are life-size Transformers-inspired costumes, with motorized wheels that allow...

For the past few years, entrepreneur Drew Beaumier has been creating life-size Transformers-inspired costumes known as Drive Suits. Thanks to the wearer’s motorized “drive boots,” they can actually trundle along the ground when in “vehicle” mode. It may be a bit late for Halloween, but you can now buy one of your own.  Read More

AppToyz are physical attachments for smartphones or tablets which, it's claimed, add an ol...

AppToyz, the firm behind the AppBlaster augmented reality iPhone gun which proved popular last year, has revealed its smartphone-based offerings for this Christmas season. New toys include a fishing game which mounts an iPhone onto a toy fishing rod, a portable Karaoke machine, a quiz game with buzzer buttons, and an updated AppBlaster v2.0.  Read More

The Kyosho Space Ball flies like an R/C helicopter, but can bounce off obstacles with ease...

Almost a year ago, the Japanese Ministry of Defense made quite a splash when it revealed a spherical, remote-controlled aircraft that could zip around a room, roll along the ground, and even bounce off obstacles without losing control. But while it was mainly designed for search and rescue operations, many R/C enthusiasts took one look at that hovering Death Star and said, "I have got to get me one of those." Luckily, toy company Kyosho must have been listening, since it recently released a similar flying machine of its own for consumers. Kyosho's "Space Ball" can remain airborne while taking just as much punishment and even emits a fragrance to freshen up a room in the process.  Read More

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