Furby is back, and he looks really bad - in a good way....
The new Furby has some interesting, and hopefully engaging, improvements especially in the way that it interacts with humans. The only thing that appears a bit off target are the LCD eyes. While they appear useful in indicating changes in Furby's personality (or personalities), the LCD eyes don't really match the rest of Furby's body and give an eerie, somewhat unsettling feeling to the toy. It will be interesting to see if that impacts market acceptance and take-up on the toy as we move into the critical 2012 holiday gift buying season.
After breaking the news last night about Takara Tomy's new i-SODOG robot dog, I was able to get more information plus a set of close-up photos and video of the awesome robot in action.
It was hard to capture in words all the fun and excitement of the new BattroBorg 20 battling robots when I first posted about them last week. Now, with the Tokyo International Toy Show opening here tomorrow morning, I can share this exclusive video footage of the robots in action with you:
And here's some additional footage in Japanese via the Takara Tomy YouTube channel:
There isn't a lot of information available yet, but here's what is rumored so far:
The new robot dog, named the Omnibot i-SODOG, is expected to have realistic dog-like movement utilizing 15 custom designed servo motors. It will feature voice recognition and respond to hand signals using motion detection sensors. In addition to a dedicated remote control that looks similar to the i-SOBOT humanoid control unit, i-SODOG can be controlled using a smartphone. We're guessing that the interface will be Bluetooth.
Based on the robot complexity and advanced technology, pricing is likely to be similar to the company's popular i-SOBOT robot that retailed for around 31,500 Japanese yen. The rumor is that i-SODOG's release date will be early 2013, though no official information is available at this time.
Takara Tomy is expected to release more information, and perhaps to have limited showings of the i-SODOG, at the Tokyo International Toy Show that opens tomorrow morning here in Japan.
Related websites: Takara-Tomy
BattroBorg 20 battling robots, the latest entry in Takara Tomy’s famous Omnibot robot toy series, was announced today in Tokyo. BattroBorg is a totally new product that is sure to immediately jump to the top of the “must have” list for anyone that enjoys robots.
While they may bring to mind comparisons with the Rock Em Sock Em fighting robots that were popular during my childhood, Takara Tomy has come up with a unique, innovative design that is absolutely impossible to resist once you pick up the controllers and join in the action. Because your robot throws punches that instantaneously mirror your moves, playing with the BattroBorg is completely engaging and makes you feel as if you were right in the middle of the bout. The sound effects add an extra dimension of reality to the play. The experience is totally compelling and addictive.
A hit sensor incorporated into the robots helmet records each time the opponent manages to land a punch. When a match starts an LED mounted on the robots backpack is Green, indicating that it hasn’t been punched yet. As the opponent manages to hit the robots jaw, the color changes with each hit to blue, white, yellow then "warning" red. One more punch and the Knock-out buzzer sounds and the losing robot is temporarily incapacitated. The robot can then be reset by pressing and holding the helmet visor for a second.
The BattroBorg body features a unique single motor design that swings the robots upper torso back and forth in a twisting motion. Linkages cause the arms and fists to punch aggressively while a ratchet-like system in the feet results in the robot moving right and left across the combat ring. Users hold the remote control sections in each hand and operate the robot by making punching motions. It really feels like you are totally engaged in the fight yourself.
In addition to the basic fighting mode, the robot also has a sparring mode throwing random punches. Just like a typical human sparring match, the punches are slow at first then speed up as the play progresses. It starts throwing simple punches then adds combinations. There are several different games that can be played using the robots including a version of the popular kids game of Tag, Slalom, and a variety of practice routines.
There’s lots of room for personalization. Each robot’s helmet visor is removable so that operators can put a picture of their own face design or photo on the robot. The robots also have removable flags that can be decorated with team colors or stickers. The company plans to package sheets of stickers with each robot, including some that are blank so that users can add their own decoration.
The BattroBorg robot system uses 2.4 GHz wireless communication. Up to 20 robots can fight at the same time providing the opportunity for some exciting robot rumbles. The onboard battery provides up to 10 minutes of active play time, with a 20 minute recharge cycle. They come in a choice of four colors: "Star White", "Mars Red", "Earth Blue", and "Cosmic Black".
BattroBorg robots are expected to sell for ¥3,800 each. An optional double-sided fighting and practice "Hexaring" ring is priced at ¥1,000. The company is expected to offer packaged promotional sets with multiple robots later in the year. The initial release date is July 14th for the Japan and Asia markets. The company expects to make Battroborg available in Europe and the U.S. later, but wasn’t able to comment on specific dates at this time.
Related links: BattroBorg 20 - Takara Tomy (Japanese)
Just ask any child and they will tell you that "Transformers are robots in disguise", and what could be better disguise for summer than a popsicle?
Takara Tomy just announced a new set of robot toys based on a fusion of the internationally famous Transformers line and GARI! GARI-Kun, a popular Japanese ice bar similar to a popsicle.
The new robot toys are appropriately named "GariRobo Transformers" since they morph from a popsicle shape into a robot version of GARI-GARI-Kun. While GARI-GARI-Kun might be unknown outside of Japan, he's very popular here. He was first introduced as the ice pop's mascot character in 1981 when it was put on the market by Akagi Nyugyo, an ice cream company based in Saitama prefecture.
GariRobo Transformers will come in two 'flavors', soda (above) and cola (below).
The target release date is June 30th with an expected price of 1,890 yen in Japan. No information was available regarding release of the product overseas.
This isn't the first time GARI-GARI-Kun has done joint promotions: