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29 December 2017

COMMENT: High-Tech Toys - When Technology Meets Fun in a Unique Way


Opening a beautifully wrapped Christmas present is a feeling that's hard to match for kids - and for adults, as well. And among all the ugly Christmas sweaters, socks, books, and other similar dull but traditional presents, the most memorable ones were the toys - especially if they were "all the rage" during the preceding shopping season. The feeling has not changed for today's kids, but the toys have undergone a serious evolutionary process over the years. Today's toys are becoming increasingly interactive and connected - basically, what we dreamed of playing with back when we were kids.

Toy cars with remote controls were all the rage for a long time - and the more luxurious they were, the better. After all, Lamborghinis are the ultimate toys for those who enjoy super speed and luxury, even as kids. But today, getting a Lambo for Christmas isn't as exciting as getting an unnamed, futuristic speedster that can be controlled through any kid's favourite toy, a smartphone.


App-controlled toys were pretty expensive a few years ago, but today they have descended from their pedestal to become accessible to anyone. For example, Anki's Overdrive Guardian Supercar starter kit costs just $49.99 at Toys'R'Us at the time this article is written, which makes it one of the more accessible yet app-controlled, thus exciting toys you can still get for your kids this Christmas season - or just for the fun of it.

But with all the realistic - and free to play - racing games available today, your kids may not be that excited about an RC car as they would've been a few years ago. Perhaps, a more futuristic option would be a better choice - like a robot, for example. The above-mentioned Anki has some of this, too - Cozmo, the robot. Cozmo is a responsive robot with learning capabilities that makes its personality evolve as your kid interacts with it. It responds to actions and expresses simulated emotions, and is capable of playing a variety of games.


This toy is as much fun as it is useful, preparing your kid for a future filled with interactive machines. Come to think of it, the idea is great - just think of Sophia, the interactive robot that has been granted a Saudi citizenship this year. And who knows, the fun little machine that's currently sold for $180 might even determine your kid to choose robotics as his or her career, actively contributing to shaping the world of the future. And that's likely a great investment.

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