Gadgets

Mind-reading toy trains 'Star Wars' Jedi Masters -- with holograms

At Toy Fair 2015, CNET's Bridget Carey tracks down new high-tech toys. Kids can train robot dino pets, race cars with a mind of their own, bring coloring books to life and don headgear to learn how to use the Force.

Using the Force to move an X-Wing out of the swamp was easy. But I need more work on my robot raptor fetch game.

At this year's New York Toy Fair, I got a taste of how tech is transforming playtime. But you'll need a tablet or smartphone to get the most out of these new toys:

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Here are some more details on the toys featured in the roundup:

  • Crayola Color Alive books cost $6 and are available now. Using Crayola's app, point a smartphone or tablet camera to the colored page and watch the character come to life and dance off the page. Later this year, Crayola will let you order a 3D printed figurine of your creation, made by 3D Systems. The price of the figurines have not been determined, but expect it to be somewhere between $25 and $50.
  • Taking your art to the next level, Color Alive Easy Animation Studio turns coloring book pages into a two-minute cartoon videos with sound. The app captures poses recorded by a mannequin doll, and the coloring book character will mimic the postures to create a smooth animation on the screen. The set comes out in the summer for $25.
  • You'll want your own pet dino after seeing WowWee's MiPosaur. The company took the MiP self-balancing robot and turned it into man's best prehistoric pet. The $120 rolling robot follows commands and changes moods with a smartphone app and a remote-control ball it chases around.
  • Race cars have a mind of their own. WowWee's REV app-controlled cars come in packs of two for $100. Race around and battle with a friend. But if you don't have a friend around, these self-driving cars are smart enough to chase you on their own.
  • The popular Anki racing cars have a few upgrades in Anki Overdrive, coming this fall in a $150 starter pack. These app-controlled racing cars require a special track, and now that track can be built and expanded into various shapes. Along with some new app features, the Overdrive version can race against both iOS and Android players at the same time.
  • Perhaps one of the most creative tech toys is the Star Wars Force Trainer Hologram Experience by Uncle Milton. A headpiece senses beta brainwaves to measure your concentration levels. The trainer hologram projection is created when a tablet is placed on this reflective pyramid-shaped display. If you concentrate just right, you can lift an X-Wing out of the swamp, or push back your hologram enemies.
  • You'll feel like a Jedi when you ride the IO Hawk . This personal transport device requires concentration and slight shifting to send you zipping around. This skateboard-Segway mashup costs $1,800.
  • Everyday can be Girl Scout cookie season with the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven by Wicked Cool Toys. The oven itself is $60 and will come out later this year with cookie mix packs to whip up a batch of Thin Mints and other famous flavors.

CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every afternoon for a breakdown of the big stories, hot devices, new apps, and what's ahead. Subscribe to the podcast via the links below.

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