Top Tech Toys 2011
This list was researched and developed by Tuck students under the direction of center director, M. Eric Johnson, who follows the toy industry. The toy selections cover all ages and represent our absolute favorite Tech Toys for this year. As part of this annual, fun research product, the center hosts a holiday toy drive. Please drop off a new, unwrapped toy to benefit the Upper Valley "Toys for Tots" campaign, supported by the US Marine Corps Reserve, in boxes marked on the Tuck Campus.
Put on Giggle Octopus $12.00
This happy octopus giggles its giant head away when fed with soft furry balls. The furry tentacles join the giggles by gently moving up and down. The toy works based on touch sensitive sensors placed at the bottom of the cup shaped octopus head. The wide opening at the top of the head makes the operation of putting and removing the balls extremely simple. Attractive colors and soft fur material is perfect for crawling babies. 0-15 months.
Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case $15.00
This toy is based on a really attractive concept: take the computing power and best-in-class interface of the iPhone and make it usable for toddlers. It combines the case itself with a handful of simple apps downloadable from iTunes. Unfortunately, the execution was less strong. The clear plastic cover over the "home" button was nice as it kept curious fingers from leaving the app chosen by the parent. But the apps were very simple, not outrageously engaging and did not, in our view, really harness the power of the device. The case also was not as protective as we would've liked when handing over a multi-hundred dollar device to a toddler. Specifically, it did not protect very well from a spill and the case popped open during normal play, exposing the phone. A few small tweaks, and this could be a great toy: tidy up the case design and wow us with a great app. 6+ months.
Alphabet Pal $19.99
Its got colors, its got alphabets, its got phonetics and its got rhymes too. This bright eyed caterpillar has an English alphabet assigned for each of its 26 colorful legs and operates in 4 modes: Letters/Phonetics/Colors/Rhymes. While every leg has a different rhyme beginning with the letter the leg stands for, the colors repeat after every four letters. Pressing the button on any of the 26 legs activates and plays an appropriate pre-recorded sound for a given mode. The caterpillar even has a string which can be used by the child to tug along. Tugging activates the classic ABCD letter song. Priced at a very affordable rate, Mr.Caterpillar can be the ideal first teacher. 1+ year.
Meowsic Keyboard $29.99
The meowsic keyboard provides hours of technology induced fun. The keyboard allows you to record your own music as well as play along to pre-recorded songs. You can sing into the microphone, although you cannot record voice. Great for young toddlers and for their big sis or brother to play and dance along with as well! Ages 2+ years.
One of the best tech toys this season! Colorful, friendly, digital alien like creatures utlilize voice recognition technology to interact with you. They dance, tell jokes and give compliments to it's playmates. You certainly are enticed to buy more than 1 in a series of 4 fun little friendly, interactive creatures! 6+ years.
Think iPad for kids and you have the idea. Leapfrog out did themselves with this one! The LeapPad is easy to use, has a great interface, and a super set of apps ranging from $7.50 - $15.00. The camara produces great photos and video. Apps range from games to education. It is amazing the technology Leapfrog was able to bring to market at the $99 prices. We found teenagers and adults had trouble putting this one down! 4+ years.
Meon Interactive Animation Studio $49.99
The Meon Interactive Animation Studios are a fun, new twist on the 1960s game, Lite-Brite. Simply insert a picture template, snap in plastic pegs, and thread the Meon wire to create animated signs featuring your favorite characters or your own designs. 5+ years.
Monster High $17.99
Monster High is the latest in preteen doll series which incorporates technology to enable interaction with characters, and the Monster High world, across many platforms. Each character is the child of a fabled, fictitious monster, such as Frankenstein's daughter Frankie, complete with a backstory creatively alluding to their parents' background. Monster High creates a unique and compelling world as it combines a ubiquitous high school environment with monster nuances, such as a fearleading team instead of a cheerleading team. Preteens are able to interact with their favorite characters and join the Monster High world upon purchasing a doll. With the identification code preteens access the internet site to watch webisodes, decorate their Monster High locker, create a student id and download iphone applications.The concept is original, highly integrated across many dimensions to customize interaction. 6+ years.
Barbie Designable Hair Extension $32.99
Barbie Hairtastic Printables let you create customizable hair extensions for you and your Barbie doll. Each set comes with a Barbie doll and sheets of printable hair extensions, which you can create using your home computer and inkjet printer. A web-based design center allows you to choose from pre-made patterns or create your own design. The designs clip easily into Barbie or human hair, and you can purchase additional sets of printables should you run out. 6+ years.
Hot Wheels Video Racer $59.99
This toy capitivates the young and old alike. Hot Wheels has turned a beloved toy into a toy relevant to the current trends of today. With video recording capabilities, you can now record and replay footage as seen from the driver's seat of your car! It is the GoPro for toys! It is not one to miss this season by young boys (and girls) nor by their fanatic match box collecting parents of the X generation. 5+ years.
Super Soaker Tornado Strike $30
Swirling water has to be fun and Super Soaker rarely disappoints. We loved everything about this year's version except the small water reservoir. As is, you are out of water as soon as the fun starts. Be sure to buy extra water clips. 6+ years.
My Desk Pets
For adults and kids alike, this little robot will delight many in the office crowd. Small enough to fit in you pocket, it can travel anywhere your phone does. We tested with both Android and Iphone and it worked great. Super easy to download the app and strart driving your bot.
Air Swimmers $49.99
OK - this toy was really for us. A giant, remote control fish that flies around your holiday parties is too fun. Requires a helium charge that is not included - so might sit in the box Christmas morning. Also requires more space to fly than available in most homes. But for the office party or sporting event, wow is it cool!! 8-10 years.
This Year's Team:
M. Eric Johnson Arun Balakrishnan T'12 Kristen Barnum T'12 Colin Carrihill T'12 Bhavna Seshadri
Katherine Libby T'12 Elizabeth Morbeck T'12 Jacqueline O'Brien T'12 Kathleen O'Leary T'12 Erin Reilly T'12
Avraj Sandhu T'12 Katherine Witman T'12
Not Pictured: Georgios Savvidis
"No Hit Toy to Brighten Retailers' Christmas" New York Times, December 2011.
"Dartmouth Broadcasting Helps Bring Holiday Gifts to Local Children" Dartmouth Now, December 2011.
"Top Chrismas Toys Best Technology" Do News, December 2011.
"Toys with Built-In Video Cameras are the Absolute Trend in 2011" Konstruktions Praxis, December 2011.
"Tuck MBA's Select Top Teck Toys for the Holiday Season" Finanical Times, November 2011.
"Toying with Innovation" Tuck News, November 2011.
"Tuck Students Compile List of Season's Top Toys" The Dartmouth, November 28, 2011.
and more instructions!
The Fellow's Lounge is full of tech toys.
The super soaker test!
Fijit is put together.
Waiting to be tested.
Also waiting .... eerily.
The fish floats around Tuck Tails!
He even clears the rail.
Children enjoy "demonstrating" the many toys.
And the toy drive is officially launched.