Archive for the 'Augmented Reality' Category

Children’s Conferences for 2016

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Photo of a conference hall

Our great big list of kids conferences for 2016 is ready to be released! It’s a compilation of major events that touch on different areas of the children’s media world. Apps, toys, eBooks, education, television, video games, and more. A similar list was created last year at this time for 2015 conferences. The 2016 list is now available in two flavors. The first is a PDF doc that sorts events chronologically. The second PDF segments conferences by media type, or focus.

You may be asking yourself, “Is every children’s media event included on this list?” The answer is no. There are 68 events listed here and you could easily add hundreds more. However, the conferences included tend to be among the biggest or best known events in their specific area of focus.

A few notes about what’s new in our conference list since last year:

  • Conferences related to virtual reality and augmented reality were added as this business sector is heating up fast. These events are not specifically child focused, but is an area worth watching as it could offer new opportunities with children’s media down the road.

  • One digital video conference, VidCon, was added as more and more kids watch digital videos on mobile devices. Another event to look for is YouTube’s Brandcast, which at the time of writing has not publicly announced a date for 2016.

  • Two big children’s research conferences, Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and the Cognitive Development Society (CDS) are biennual events, and 2016 is an off year for each. See you in 2017!

  • The iKids event from Brunico has been folded into their annual Kidscreen conference.

  • Early Education & Technology for Children (EETC) has been folded into the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) annual conference.

  • Also not included at the time of posting, Common Sense Media and Vicky Rideout should have a Zero to Eight media use report out sometime in 2016. An event date has yet to be announced but I’m told to look for it later in the year.

If you know of other events not included on our list that could be of benefit to the children’s media community, please do share a comment below, complete with the event name, date(s), location, and URL. Thanks for your help, and I look forward to seeing you at a future event!

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Tech Toy Magic at Toy Fair

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

For more than a decade I’ve been going to the annual NY Toy Fair, and I go primarily for one reason. To check out the latest technology toys. I’ve seen some amazing toys over the years, as well as hundreds, maybe thousands of other toys that just didn’t make the cut. This year a few new tech toy products caught my eye, and I’d like to share what excites me about them. I’m not highlighting these products because of their suggested retail price, and my praise has nothing to do with how well I think they might sell come next holiday season. My interest is in the idea, and the execution of that idea. With that as background, let’s dig in.

Barbie’s Makeup Mirror by Mattel

Mattel's new Barbie Makeover Mirror nicely integrates an iPad with pretend play.

Let me start by saying Barbie is not my thing. I’m not really drawn to Barbie, and I usually pass right by all things related to dolls, but not this year. In an iPad world filled with shovelware there are few tangible toy and app collaborations that rise to the level of noteworthy. There have been too many forced mergers of toys and apps together on the iPad that simply don’t work. The toy world has been carelessly forcing this merger, hoping to find an answer without actually understanding the question… and that’s where this Barbie product really shines. Finally, someone merged software and a child’s play pattern together seamlessly. This vanity toy reminds me of the vanity toy tables that were popular with young girls many years ago. Dress up and pretend play have always been a strong play pattern with young children. This app and toy combination hits the nail on the head, by using the iPad’s onboard camera to allow a user to play and try on different personalities through digital makeup, and then easily share those creations with a friend. Lots of fun and lots of strong play. Bravo Mattel! My hope is what you have created will shine as a beacon for the rest of the toy world (and app world as well) to learn from, that you just can’t throw an app and a toy together and call it fun. Find the play pattern first, and build from there. Plain and simple.

Flutterbyes by Spin Master

Spin Master's newest flying creation, the flying fairy.

This next tech toy product defines a real milestone in the toy industry. The Spin Master flying fairy product called Flutterbyes nearly knocked me over when I saw it. Why? The toy industry has been dreaming of bringing a small flying fairy to market long before I started attending Toy Fair. I’ve seen toy inventors talk about it, wonder, plan, scheme, invent, try, fail, try again, and yet there has never been any really great breakthrough. Ever. Until now. Spin Master did it, and it makes sense that they achieved this milestone since they have been sitting on some serious flying toy technology through their Air Hogs line. This milestone marks the beginning of light weight rechargeable batteries that can be a part of all kinds of future flying toys, as well as the flying stabilization technology included within. Just imagine where this will go. This flying fairy is one simple, and elegant toy. Well done Spin Master! (Video clip)

Cubelets by Modular Robotics

Cubelets by Modular Robotics

I grew up on electronics kits. Lot’s of pre-cut wires and metal spring connectors were part of my everyday electronic play. Spending say 30 minutes building a project with another 15 minutes to figure out where the mistake was in order for the whole thing to work. No more! Cubelets has success built-in from the moment you place one cube next to another. Cubelets are a series of electronic cubes where each cube has its own unique characteristic. Some cubes are power sources. Others have motors. Some have lights. Others include sensors and some even include modifiable logic through programming. There’s even a website where you can download sample programming code made by other Cubelet fans to try out on your own. What most electronic kits miss is the ability to experiment and this collection of cubes allows for never ending building and experimentation. Want to make your own motion detection robot? Easy. Want to make a lighthouse? Done. Have an idea for something totally unique and original? You can make it! This is an amazingly powerful toy with endless possibilities. I can’t wait to see how this company grows over the next year. (Video clip)

Romo the controllable, programmable robot by Romotive

These are the big ideas I thought were executed marvelously at this year’s Toy Fair. I do have additions to my list, but I have been following these products and companies long before Toy Fair. They include Romo the robot from Romotive (video clip), Sphero from Orbotix (video clip), and the brainwave sensing technology from the company NeuroSky. All strong contenders to keep an eye out for in the tech toy space this year.

Did you go to Toy Fair? Was there a toy or technology that caught your attention? Was there something you saw that was a step forward in this space? Or maybe a step backward? Please share in the comments below!

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2010 Trends for Tech Toys and Virtual Worlds

Friday, March 12th, 2010

The virtual world conference Engage Expo was held at the same time and same location as the annual NY Toy Fair

In mid-February, the annual New York Toy Fair held their conference at the same time as the virtual world conference called Engage Expo. Both industries compete for kids’ interest and at times, even collaborate in engaging them through both online and offline play. The two conferences offered a rare opportunity to hear how both industries are thinking about engaging kids through digital play.

At the end of both of these events, a number of industry experts gathered together to discuss key trends with kids, technology, virtual worlds, and play. What were some of the key findings for 2010? Less virtual world announcements. Deeper virtual world experiences. Less technology toy announcements. Lower price points across all products. Less “watch me” toys. More touch screens for tech products that were screen-based. The desire by kids to stop being “micro-paymented” to death.

These and other trends can be heard in the video recording of this group get-together offered below. Also included in the video are photos of new products announced at the show that you will see rolled out later in 2010.

For those who would like to simply cut to the chase, I’ve also included a look up table below to find the location within this video where the group talks about specific products you’re interested in. After you’re done viewing, share your thoughts about what key trends you see in the world of digital play. Enjoy!


Maker Product Time
Reference
New
for
2010?
Air Hogs Gravity Laser 21’14” N
Ami Entertainment
Solutions
My Ami 36’20” Y
Apisphere Geomate Jr. 11’29”, 35’45” Y
Apple iPhone/iTouch 12’15”, 33’29” Y
Beamz Interactive The Beamz 22’52”, 25’42” Y
Big W Productions FaceChipz 38’24” N
Disney World of Cars Online 3’55”, 14’34” Y
Disney Clickables 38’26” N
Disney Club Penguin 4’35”, 14’38”, 40’24” N
DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda World 3’48”, 4’56”, 14’36” Y
Facebook Facebook 33’39”, 39’10” N
Fat Brain Toys Erector sets 2’44” N
Fisher-Price Dance Star Mickey 22’22”, 45’12” Y
Fisher-Price Red Rover 32’20” Y
Fisher-Price Follow Me Thomas 21’23” Y
Fisher-Price Elmo Live! 45’22” N
Fisher-Price Tickle Me Elmo 45’31” N
Fisher-Price Frightening McMean
Talking Truck
44’17” Y
Fisher-Price iXL 18’13”, 20’59” Y
Flipoutz Flipoutz 8’23”, 37’48” Y
Gamewright Rory’s Story Cubes 30’04” Y
GeoPalz GeoPalz 9’28” Y
BigBoing Gnomads 38’35” N
TDC Games Green Pieces 42’19” Y
Gyrobike Gyrowheel 10’48”, 13’09” Y
Hairy Entertainment Elf Island 37’31” N
Hairy Entertainment Xeko 37’25” N
Hasbro Scrabble Flash 23’07” Y
Hasbro 75th Anniversary Monopoly 27’40” Y
iToys Me2 9’35” N
Jacabee Jacabee Code 15’21” N
Jakks Pacific Spy Watch 19″31″, 19’59” Y
Jakks Pacific EyeClops (Spy Net) 19’50 N
KidsGive Karito Kids 42’42 N
LeapFrog Leapster 2 18’22” N
Lego Creationary 24’57”, 25’20” Y
Lionel Lionel Trains 2’10”, 2’41” N
Mattel Avatar i-Tag
Augmented Reality cards
39’48” Y
Mattel Loopz 22’49”, 25’58”, 26’56” Y
Mattel Mind Flex 22’40” N
Nintendo Nintendo DS 18’24” N
Paricon Sleds Flexible Flyer Sled 1’57”, 2’39” N
Rio Grande Games Dominion 43’47” N
Rio Grande Games Settlers of Katan 43’45” N
Rixty Rixty 35’25” Y
Scribble mats Scribble mats 16’45” N
Shidonni Shidonni 29’47” Y
Smith & Tinker Nanover 33’24”, 39’59” N
Swinxs Swinxs 11’21”, 32’14”, 36’06”,
40’54”
N
Techno Source Rubik’s Slide 11’08”, 11’26”, 11’53”,
12’32”
Y
Techno Source Rubik’s Touchcube 45’45” N
ThinkGeek Guitar Tshirt 26’31” Y
TCKL Drip Drops 28’50” Y
Topps Augmented Reality
Baseball Cards
39’47” Y
TV Hat TV Hat 26’07”, 36’11” Y
Obvious Twitter 10’12”, 33’08” N
Uncle Milton Pet’s Eye View Camera 9’57” N
Uncle Milton Star Wars Force Trainer 22’42” N
University Games Brain Quest Smart 28’13” Y
VTech Flip 18’09”, 21’03” Y
VTech MobiGo 18’34” Y
VTech Submarine Learning Boat 44’23” Y
VTech Musical Bubbles Octopus 44’46 Y
Where’s George Where’s George 38’43” N
Wild Planet Hyper Dash Extreme 32’24” Y
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