Sat, Jun 15, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Tokyo toy fair showcases tech for kids


A woman is photographed posing with characters made out of Lego bricks at the International Tokyo Toy Show 2013 in Tokyo on Thursday.

Photo: EPA

A toy helicopter created from cannibalized smartphones was among the main attractions at a huge toy show in Tokyo yesterday, where producers were targeting the young and the young-at-heart.

The motor that makes a mobile phone vibrate powers the rotor blades on the Nano-Falcon, which its makers say is the world’s smallest radio-controlled helicopter.

The 6.5cm machine weighs just 11g, has a range of just 5m and can fly for five minutes, but its makers say they are feeding the fantasies of adults who never really grew up.

“Japan’s aging population made us think of developing a toy targeting adults,” said Naoki Nakagawa, head of sales at maker CCP.

“Ten or twenty years ago, helicopter toys could cost a lot of money. Those who couldn’t afford it at the time can now make their childhood dream come true at a reasonable price,” Nakagawa said.

The mini machine retails at around ¥4,700 (US$50), a price company spokeswoman Kiyoko Hayasaki said came from its use of bits of mobile phones.

“We were able to set the price at this relatively cheap level because we took some key parts from stocks that are widely available in the market for smartphones,” she said.

Elsewhere at the exhibition, toymakers were showcasing tablet computers specifically for small children.

“Children like to emulate what adults do, and a survey said 90 percent of tablet computer users let their children use their tablets,” said Yuki Itagaki, a spokeswoman for MegaHouse, a subsidiary of major Japanese toy maker Bandai Namco Holdings.

MegaHouse’s “tap me” is a tablet specifically developed for use by children aged between four and eight, with built-in parental controls, including a timer that limits use.

Despite its price tag of ¥20,790, MegaHouse aims to sell 100,000 “tap mes” in the coming 12 months.

US toy maker Mattel Inc was showing off its Apptivity Monkey, a fluffy monkey designed to hold Apple Inc’s iPhone — and protect it from over-enthusiastic toddlers, who can press buttons on the creature’s limbs to create music.

Japan’s Takara Tomy has a stand for the iPhone that dances along to the music it is playing.

The International Tokyo Toy Show ends tomorrow at Tokyo Big Sight in the Japanese capital’s bay area, with today and tomorrow open to the public.

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