The Latest Animatronic Toys
Animatronics can be found everywhere today. When I take my boys to the mall they always want to stop and see the alligator at the Rainforest Cafe. Chuck E. Cheese has a whole band of animatronic human like animals.
Animatronics is basically a set of robotic gears and computers inside a type of puppet. Often times they are animals or people but, they can also be fictional characters and monsters.
I am amazed at all of the recent innovations in kids toys. When I was growing up in the 80's the coolest animatronic toy I had was a Pound Puppy named Cooler. Cooler worked the exact same way as the popular Teddie Ruxpin doll. You could put a cassette tape inside of the Pound Puppy and then it would move its mouth as it sang or told a story. I remember it being pretty heavy. But, maybe that was just because it was filled electronics instead of stuffing.
Animatronics were invented by the Imagineers under Walt Disney in the early 60's. Walt named them Audio-Animatronics. Eventually similar technology made its way onto movie sets, but Walt had kept his innovations very secret. Today the technology is getting more and more popular in childrens toys. Animatronics can now come to childrens toys because all of the high tech gear to control them is getting smaller and cheaper.
WowWee is one of the biggest animatronic toy makers. They offer a huge variety of electronic interactive toys.They made the popular Robosapien. The Robosapien is basically a robot and not animatronic, but he acts like a human. It can do 67 pre-programmed functions like dancing and picking things up.
The Robopanda is their first to not need a remote control. It isn't soft and cuddly but it is cute and comes with a little stuffed panda to interact with. The Robopanda can sing, tell stories, play games and responds to affection.
One of the things I like most about the WowWee toys is that lots of them can interact with each other.
Their Alive Cubs look really cool for younger kids. It consists of what seems to be stuffed animals that come alive. The cubs can move their mouth and eyes. They make realistic baby animal sounds and patting them makes them purr. If left alone for more than five minutes they snore then turn off. There is a Lion, panda, polar bear and a white tiger.
The Pleo is a cute little dinosaur that moves so realistically that it is kinda scary. The Pleo seems to be the most realistic. The Pleo was created by Caleb Chung who brought everyone the Furby. The Pleo pretty much has all of our senses. The Pleo reacts to touch and what he sees. Pleo gets hungry and tired. It gains it own personality by how you interact with him. Pleo is the same size as a 2 week old Camarasaurus that he is based on. Check out Pleoworld to see all of the sensors inside.
KOTA by Playskool is a giant ride on Triceratops that can react to touch and sound. KOTA can grunt and play jungle sounds. Kids are able to feed him too. KOTA will be released on October 15th.
Squakers McKaw is a part of Hasbro's FurReal line. Squakers can mimmick your voice and can learn to respond to commands.
Biscuit My Lovin Pup is also by Hasbro . Well you can't ride on him but he is pretty big. Biscuit has voice recognition and can follow some typical commands for dogs like sit and speak. Biscuit is expected to be release on September 7th.
WALL-E the robot is being released by Disney. Disney partnered with the leader of these types of toys, WowWee in order to build him. Wall-E comes with a remote control. But he can also respond to his surroundings. I know he isn't an animatronic toy but it does seem like such a cool robotic toy I had to include him.
there is a new animatronic dinosaur on the block, and he looks mean. Mattel has recently created an interactive dinosaur pet for kids. He is very cute in his own way but, definitely not cudly like the Pleo. Of course it only makes sense since the D-Rex is a carnivore. He even has a cool spiked collar. The D-Rex can be found for about $130 for kids 8 and up. The D-Rex has lifelike movement and can react to his environment. If he bumps into a wall he staggers and looks confused. The D-Rex will obey commands and is very good at protecting his owner. He has more than 100 different roars. He comes with a remote control bone. The cotroller allows for 5 different response modes to put him in. But, he will react differently each time. He has sensors on his head so when you pet him he will wag his tail and make nice roars.If he seems hungry he will chew on whatever you put in his mouth.
- Attack makes him launch forward roaring
- Prank makes him burp or fart
- Seek makes him follow you by sound
- Guard in which you can place him in front of something and he will protect it by roaring if he senses movement close by.
- Question Ask him something and he will nod his head yes or shake his head no.
Meet Screature the newest dinosaur from the creators of D-Rex. Screature is simpler and also cheaper but, still seems like a lot of fun. My kids love that it can squirt water like the spitting dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. This dinosuar doesn't walk but, he does respond to petting him by making noises. He can bite and spit if you pet him in the wrong spot and you can set him for guard mode to pretect your things.
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WowWee Alive Cubs
Disney's Living Characters Initiative
The most advanced animatronics I can find are of course made by Disney. Lucky was the first to walk freely around the parks. You can find him wandering around the Animal Kingdom. Lucky is a dinosaur that can freely interact with people. Lucky was introduced on May 6, 2005. Lucky pulls a flower kart and can sneeze, hiccup, laugh make noises and sign autographs.
The next to be introduced was the mobile Muppet Lab. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker were first seen in private test runs in 2006. It then moved on to Disney's California Adventure Park. The Lab is always moving to different locations. It is currently in Disneyland in Hong Kong. But is scheduled to be in New York City for the World Science Festival. The lab is controlled by one person who can be miles away from the park. The lab is equipped with 8 cameras so the controller can see everything that is going o. The lab all kinds of cool gadgets onboard. It can shoot out confetti, bubbles, smoke and water. It has spinning signs and flashing lights. I really hope this is at Disney the next time I go. I simply love the Muppets.
The Muppets actually interact with the guests of the park. They have 53 comedy sketches and sing 12 songs.
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