Exploring Tech Trends 2016: in Flight and on the Ground

22 March 2016

The year’s tech toys will make playing outdoors even more fun and those inevitable days inside the house much more enjoyable. The range of tech products unveiled in February at the 113th North American International Toy Fair will provide hours of play and further inspire tech-savvy kids and adults.

At the show’s annual Toy Trends Briefing, Toy Industry Association (TIA) experts named Drones, Robots and Toys-To-Life as categories to watch in this constantly evolving area. Additionally, with tech’s continued innovation comes the further enhancement of classic toys, leading to new creative areas of play.

“Advances in technology are helping to make toys even more engaging. When technology is adapted seamlessly into a toy and makes the play pattern even better, it’s a win,” says Adrienne Appell, toy trend specialist at TIA. “A kid isn’t going to love a toy because it’s tech, but when tech is used appropriately it will wow the child and encourage hours of play!”

Read on for the tech trends that will soon be featured on toy aisle shelves and entice users of all ages:

Drones
This year’s drones can be launched from the palms of children’s hands and also have new features specially designed for mid-air fun. The new wave of drones offer improved capabilities and navigation upgrades, so kids can host stunt shows in their backyards or even inside their homes. Some will even be controlled by utilizing the latest in voice-command technology.

“Drones teach patience, hand-eye coordination and careful manipulation, which are important skills developed through play. Each year we see this category reach new heights and the possibilities seem endless,” says Appell.

Robots
Robots are becoming more lifelike each year, and many at Toy Fair ’16 displayed authentic movements of both humans and animals. Kids can program them for all sorts of adventures and purposes with innovative response-based abilities. This year’s robotic pets can even follow users through the kitchen or the park.

“The newest toy robots are both alluring and challenging, and they’re great for building children’s developmental skills – including engineering, problem-solving and spatial skills,” notes Appell.

Toys-To-Life
oys-To-Life can provide hours of fully-immersive fun and play from nearly any room within the home. The galaxy can be explored from kids’ bedrooms and younger children can engage with electronic toy animals whose skills grow with their encouragement. Many of these products are also app-enabled, so the stories and fun can continue from reality on to mobile devices.

“A child can feel like a teacher by fostering the development and growth of the new talking and engaging toys hitting the market,” notes Appell. “Children will be delighted as they witness the toys’ abilities improve.”

More Trends To Watch
A detailed look at all the trends TIA experts announced can be found at TIA’s Toy Trends page and check out the Toy Trends Briefing video. TIA will explore more trends over the course of the year.

For a glimpse of next year’s hottest toys in tech and beyond, consider attending TIA’s 114th North American International Toy Fair, scheduled for February 18-21, 2017 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. More information is available at www.ToyFairNY.com.

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