As the cute Cozmo heads for Christmas stockings everywhere, we attempt to predict the next techie toy trends
Hands up who remembers getting a lump of coal and an orange for Christmas?
Well okay, maybe we should update that question a little. Because even if you remember finding a Tomy Dingbot under the tree, you grew up in a very different world to today’s children.
The Dingbot blew kids’ minds in the late 1980s by turning around whenever it bumped into something. That little ET-lookalike only cost the equivalent of about £15 in 2017, whereas Anki’s new Cozmo bot will set you back over ten times as much. But it’s fair to say that today’s young techies are getting a lot more bang for their buck.
With facial recognition, machine learning capability and a mean line in song and dance, Cozmo is certainly the right toy for an increasingly tech-savvy generation. But let’s face it, toy manufacturers have no choice but to keep pushing the envelope. With their phones, TVs and online apps offering more and more in terms of entertainment and functionality, the toy industry is being hard pushed to keep up on the hardware front.
So, where do toy manufacturers go from here? As industry presses ahead with greater automation and use of robotics to increase efficiency, that rapidly developing technology must necessarily filter down into our children’s bedrooms if there’s to be any hope of keeping them engaged. Robotic limbs and even giant ride-on iron men are being developed for use in the workplace, so maybe we’ll see kids playing with bionic arms and jet packs in the playground this time next year…
Connectivity has already made a big impact on the toy industry, but it’s brought with it a myriad of security concerns. So expect to see a whole new sub-sector of the cybersecurity field as experts race to ensure our kids can use the IoT safely.
The educational side of techie toys is also being exploited, to interest youngsters in topics such as coding. Even Cozmo has an associated Code Lab allowing owners to fiddle with the robot’s core functions.
Are you working on the next big thing in toy technology? Get in touch with the team on 0800 772 0800 and tell us your toy story.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas to you all from the Breakthrough Funding team.