Top Tech Toys 2012

Toys for TotsThis list was researched and developed by Tuck students under the direction of the Center Faculty Director and Associate Dean of the MBA Progam at Tuck, M. Eric Johnson, who follows the toy industry. These toy selections cover all ages and represent our absolute favorite tech toys for this year. 

As part of this fun, annual research product, the center hosts a holiday toy drive. We invite you to please drop off a new, unwrapped toy to benefit the Upper Valley "Toys for Tots" campaign, supported by the US Marine Corps Reserve, in marked boxes on the Tuck Campus. 

This year's Tuck Tails event to suppport the drive and celebrate the toy research will be held on Thursday, November 15th in Cohen Great Hall from 5-7pm. Participants are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation to Toys for Tots. Enjoy toy demonstrations, family fun and kid-friendly food and drinks.

The List: 

Laugh and Learn Apptivity Monkey

Laugh and Learn Apptivity Monkey $30

The Apptivity Monkey is Fisher-Price's latest attempt at giving baby an iPhone and making him interact with apps. The Monkey itself is nice, soft and cuddly and comes with four buttons (one in each paw) that baby can press to learn numbers, colors, shapes, the alphabet, and listen to cute songs. The case itself is very sturdy, so the iPhone will be well protected (in fact it's not easy to get the phone in or out, even for an adult) and Fisher Price developed specific apps to enhance baby's learning experience. Too bad it's only targeting Apple users. Overall, the Apptivity Monkey will definitely please baby, if not because of the iPhone content, then because of the cute monkey sounds that can keep baby entertained for hours! Ages 6-24 months.


Furby $65

This is an awesome toy and has a "mind of its own".  It speaks "furbish" but is expected to speak English as you continue to play with it. With so much artificial intelligence embedded into it, it is definitely one of the best tech toys this year. It responds in different ways when the tail is pulled, head is tapped, or when you shake it. You can feed Furby and hear it chew the food. There is also a free iOS app where you can choose the food you want to feed Furby and then slide it into its mouth. The digital eyes are super cute and the voice attracts attention. There is no switch off button and you have to leave it undisturbed for at least five minutes before it snores off to sleep. It is an addictive companion for kids to have! Ages 6 years - adult..


Cogsley Learning Robot $39.99

Cogsley is a cute little robot who offers children many ways to interact with him. If you clap your hands, he will dance. If you deposit learning coins, he will say words and letters. If you want to play a game with Cogsley, you can do that too! All of the functions Cogsley offers are aimed at helping children learn words. Children will enjoy the sights and sounds of Cogsley but it may be a better toy for parents and kids to use together to maximize learning. It may be a little difficult for kids in the targeted age group to use and subsequently understand what Cogsley is trying to teach on their own as the games seemed a little complicated for 4 to 5 year olds. Ages 3-6+ years.

Bop ItBop It! $19.99

Bop It! is a fun interactive game that tests and builds reaction time and reflexes. The game tells the player or players to either bop it, twist it, pull it, or shout it then pass it if there is more than one player.  Play alone or with a group of friends. It is perfect for a birthday party with a prize for the winner.  The game keeps track of the highest score so that players can continue to improve their performance. Bop it! also features three difficulty levels: novice, expert or master. Bop it! can also be played by any number of players. Ages 8+ years.

QwirkleQwirkle $17.94

Though this is not a tech game, it is a fun educational game for both girls and boys.  Players arrange pieces either by shape or by color and race to win points.  This game requires little set up and is easy to take on road trips and vacations.  Additionally, Qwirkle is an interactive game that fun for many ages and between two to six players. Ages 8-12 years.


Micro ChargersTrack Time Race Track with 2 Cars! $60.97

This toy requires straightforward track assembly, which will almost certainly rely upon help from a parent for the younger ones. Once the track is assembled, up to four miniature cars (two included) are placed in a charging station that uses “MicroCharge” technology (two AA batteries and the holding down of a button for 5 seconds) to get the cars ready for racing. Concurrently, a finish line gate is wound into position that snaps open after about ten seconds of race time, allowing the cars to come to their final resting place over the finish line. While the cars ideally navigate around the track at an impressive speed, the functionality of the cars was often faulty, resulting in overturned cars out of the starting gate, or cars zipping off of the track. Perfecting the use of these cars requires multiple iterations to ensure smooth sailing around the track, and additional cars and track features (loop-de-loops) can be purchased to enhance the overall experience. Ages 6+ years.

Micro ChargersNanoblock $5-$50 
The Ohio Art Company
We saw this toy last year and really liked it, but were concerned it might not be easy to find. This year the toy appears readily available both online and in stores like Toys 'R Us. The miniature Lego-like blocks are creative, well-crafted and very fun. The models range from simple (pets) to complex (Empire State Building, Whitehouse, Space Shuttle). Parents will love the price range, which is modest compared to Lego. This toy will be hit with the older Lego lover as the miniature size makes building a little more complex. There is a nice selection of YouTube videos and large Facebook community. Ages 8-15 years.

LeapFrog PicnicShapes And Sharing Picnic Basket$20

Shapes and sharing picnic basket, as the name suggests, is a great way to learn different shapes and colors. It has over 30 voice responses that guide kids to explore and build motor skills as they sort, match, stack and fill different shapes . You can choose either to play fun picnic songs or play with the different shapes. It not just asks the kid to identify shapes but also educates them by relating the shape with common objects of use. The big and bold pieces in the set have smooth edges and corners and they are easy to handle. The only negative we felt is that there is no way to validate if the kid picked the right shape/color or not. But overall, priced at $20, this neat little basket is worth what you pay (and it comes with batteries!) Ages 2-3 years.

FisherPrice FarmLittle People Animal Sounds Farm$34.99

The Animal Farm is the evergreen toy that every kid plays with. It comes with farmer Jed, cow, horse, pig, rooster, sheep and goat. The rooster cannot be detached but you can hear the sound when you slide it along. The other farm characters can be moved around easily and there are different animal sounds that play accordingly. The silo and the two floor barn let the kids use their imagination to place the animals wherever they want within the structure. Kids are sure to enjoy the role play and get a sense of responsibility for taking care of the farm. It includes a DVD with three charming stories. Priced at an affordable rate, it is great for toddlers as they learn different sounds. Ages 2-5 years.

MindFlex Dual GameMindflex Duel Game$38

There is a new way for friends to challenge each other – Mattel has opened up the mental battlefield. Mind Flex Duel proved to be an entertaining toy and we definitely got a kick out of testing it. In this game, you put on headsets that monitor your “mind-eye” concentration. The game consists of 5 games and a freestyle setting, and benefits greatly from adding a second player.  The games generally consist of moving a ball from one side of the game to the other, sometimes through obstacles.  We had the most fun battling each other in the game modes Race the Lights, Cortex Collision, and Basketblaster. The act of playing the game is interesting. The headsets seem to work just enough where it feels like there is perhaps some skill involved in this.  Occasionally it seems like the headsets aren't doing anything, then moments of clarity break through and you feel you have full control over the game. While the technology for this is not perfectly accurate yet, it’s definitely a lot of fun for kids 8+ up to adults looking to have a laugh with a party game. Ages 8 years - adult.

Switch & Go DinoSwitch & Go Dinos $20

V-Tech has introduced a modernized take on the classic Transformer toy that many Gen-Y’ers will remember from their childhood. While the product line includes a number of options at varying price points between $15-$50, we chose Silver the T-Rex, which sits at the low-end of the price range. Silver comes packaged as a mobilized race car, with a variety of buttons and a 1.5” LCD screen that allows the child to choose from a range of animated race car drivers. Pressing other buttons results in the “roar” of an engine and catch phrases of each driver. With simple manipulation, the race car converts to an upright Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the LCD screen switches to dinosaur eyes to complement the dino-face. The dinosaur sounds replace the race car sounds, allowing any imaginative child to pretend he is playing in the Paleozoic era! Ages 3-8 years.

Snap Circuits GreenSnap Circuits Green - Alternative Energy Kit $44.37

Snap circuits provides hours of fun for nerdy and inquisitive 8-14 year old. All those boring science lectures come to life exploring alternative energy contraptions. The basic projects are simple, but more elaborate ones explore wind and solar energy, LEDs and radios. Ages 8-12 years.






This Year's Team:

Eric Johnson     Neha Anand     Koushalah Sunder    Marie-Gabrielle Bui      Leslie Chin                     
M. Eric Johnson          Neha Anand T'13        Caitlin Blodget T'13         MG Bui T'13            Lesley Chin T'13                          
Ashley Conti     Smita Gupta    Peter Kruger     Sankalp Malhotra     Benjamin McGuinness                             
  Ashley Conti T'13       Smita Gupta T'13       Peter Kruger T'13   Sankalp Malhotra T'13  Ben McGuinness T'13    
 Mukal Kumar    Koushalah Sunder                 
 Mukal Kumar T'13   Koushalah Sunder T'13    Not shown: Vikram Deswal T'13



Light DesignerLight Designer $50

Ages 6+ years




Disbusting ScienceDisgusting Science $14.57
Scientific Explorer

Ages 8-12 years.





Switch & Go DinoFrightened Grasshopper Kit - Solar Powered $14.99
Ages 8-12 years.







My Talking LapPup $17.99

Ages 6-24 months.




Top Tech Toys

Enjoy toy demonstrations by Tuck MBA Students.

  • Testing out Furby!

  • Exploring the Apptivity Monkey.

  • A runner up: My Talking LapPup.

  • Reading the instructions to Cogsley's Learning Robot.

  • Set up time.

  • Oh how we love Furby!

  • Instructions, instructions, instructions....

  • .....and more instructions.

  • Time to make video reviews.

  • Tuck Tails Top Tech Toy Event!

  • The toy drive is officially underway.

  • Everyone enjoys this year's top toys.

  • Dean Johnson shares beaded necklaces with the Tiny Tuckies.

  • Tiny Tuckies are on the look out for which toy to "demonstrate" next.

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Toys for Tots

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 around the Tuck Campus.  


The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.