The best robots (and RC toys) of Toy Fair 2014
Flying, crawling, shooting and rolling: the best little moving vehicles and critters from the Toy Fair floor.
Toy Fair has a lot of remote-controlled things. Robots, RC vehicles...and odder stuff. I drove a few, was shot by a few, and ducked while nearly being hit by a few. While there are admittedly more than I could ever take in during my one day on the floor, here were my favorite funky robots and RC toys I saw. (For more toys, check out Bridget Carey's journey.)
Nerf Combat Creatures
Hasbro's first Nerf robot is headed to stores this fall for $79.99, and it looks like a spider fused with a dart gun. The six-legged RC robot comes with its own joypad remote, has a 360-degree rotating turret, and can fire up to twelve darts in a row up to 45 feet. All it's missing is a camera for round-the-corner drone strikes. It's more of an RC vehicle than a true robot, but something tells me it's going to be popular...maybe it's that it crawls around and fires foam darts.
MiP by Wowwee
I've seen a lot of dancing, spinning robots in my time, and to be honest, I've gotten pretty jaded. MiP was something I almost passed by until someone dragged me over to take a look...and, actually, I came away impressed. The MiP was also seen at this year's CES, but the little guys were around Toy Fair to dance to music, carry drinks, and race around stunt tracks. Built like a Segway with arms and eyes, MiP has a gyroscopic balancing system and can be programmed with hand gestures, or controlled with an iOS/Android phone for more complex navigation. It comes out this spring, and costs $119.
Some people saw this little orb mini-robot at CES, but I never did. It's an incredibly cute little semi-transparent gadget that's meant to roll directly on top of your tablet screen -- or computer screen, or even a piece of paper with hand-drawn lines. Ozobot reads lines and follows them, and changes commands based on what color the lines are: spinning, speeding up or slowing down, and other tricks. Ozobot has over 1,000 instructions it can read and perform, and apps that work with it feel include maze games, race tracks, and an executive decision-maker style novelty. A full charge via Micro USB powers 40 minutes of motion. It comes out later this summer for around $59.99, and can be preordered at Ozobot's Kickstarter page.
Hexbug Vex robots
Hexbug makes a lot of cool and slightly creepy bug robots, most of them no more than a few inches tall. New Hexbug robot kits by Vex, coming this fall, blow up some of the Hexbug designs to the scale of a small dog. The robotics kits are the first consumer versions of the Vex robotics line already sold to educational institutions; each one costs $69, or for $149 you'll be able to get all four.
Another Kickstarter-birthed toy, this is full remote-control paper airplane kit that uses Bluetooth Smart to pair with a phone. The long body includes the battery, antenna, and a propeller and rudder on the back. You can speed up, slow down, or steer left and right for up to ten minutes on a charge. And you can use included paper airplane templates, or fold your own. You can pre-order a kit today for delivery in June, and it just costs $49.99.