Few countries in the world make toys better than Japan. the bright packaging, clever designs, and technological-savvy often puts them ahead of the curve.
So it’s no surprise this year’s International Tokyo Toy Show was filled with outlandishly wild contraptions.
The nation’s largest international toy convention welcomed 160 exhibitors and over 35,000 toys when it opened for corporate buyers yesterday. The toy show will be open to the general public this Saturday and Sunday at the Toyko Big Sight exhibition centre in Koto Ward.
It’s expected about 160,000 visitors will attend in total.
Presented by the Japan Toy Association, the even has seen the launch of many technologically advanced toys over the years. Many of this year’s toys blur the line between sci-fi and reality, with figurines that connect to smart phones, video games that leverage virtual reality (VR) technology, and wearable toys designed alongside space exploration agencies.
Check out six of the most impressive toys from this year’s International Tokyo Toy Show below.
1. BotsNew VR - portable video game player
Using wearable hand pads wih sensors and a headset, this state-of-the-art video game player makes gamers feel like they're actually in the world of the game. But instead of the consoles wiring up to a box that connects to a TV monitor, these wireless gadgets let you play a game activated through an app. It makes BotsNew VR the most portable, easy-to-use VR player yet.
2. Oekaki Artist - animated drawing board (aka etch-a-sketch on steroids)
This might look like your garden variety Etch-a-Sketch, but it's actually much more. Designed by high-tech toy manufacturers MegaHouse, Oekaki Artist is essentially a tablet computer that allows small children to animate original sketches. It's also fitted with a camera to take photos of the surroundings and render them for further editing on the drawing board.
3. Artec BlockRobo Robotist - remote-controlled Lego blocks
Remember how fun Lego blocks were? Robotist ups the ante by adding the element of circuitry to your basic plastic building blocks. Children can design and build their own robots and, when their creations are complete, connect them to a computer, smartphone or tablet to bring them to life.
4. Codepillar - preschool educational toy
This caterpillar toy for preschoolers by Fisher Price teaches tiny tots the foundational skills of coding, without them even realising. Each vertebra of the codepillar gives the toy a directional instruction, (left, right, turn, start stop, etc), and once connected in a particular order, will allow the toy to move as instructed. The segments of the codepillar's vertebrae can be disconnected and reconnected in any order, with a limit of 15 segments able to be added to the toy.
5. Smapon - the digital pet
Engineered by Takara Tomy Co, a well-known high-tech toy manufacturer, Smapon is a little figurine that's a digital pet, assistant, and friend rolled into one. Connected through an app on your smartphone or tablet, Smapon can respond to conversation with facial expressions, and can voice over 2000 key phrases. Smapon also remembers what you tell it, storing information about you - like your gender, favourite food, or even your blood type - for future reference.
6. JOY ! VR - virtual reality goggles
Also developed by Takara Tomy Co, this virtual reality headset allows players to travel through space, providing a 360 degree experience. The Joy ! VR takes players through a realistic Solar System, galaxies, and around other celestial bodies - Tomy Co. worked alongside the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency while developing this toy.