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    Electronic Toys

    Enter Your Electronics & Design Project for a chance to win a Grand Prize of a SNES Classic and $200 Shopping Cart of Product!

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    Monthly Themes
    Monthly Theme Poll


    One Grand Prize Winners Receives a SNES Classic and a $200 Shopping Cart! 
    3 First Place Winners Receive a $100 Shopping Cart!


    In the Comments Below:  What Are Your Ideas for Electronic Toy Projects?


    If you are planning on Upcycling an Existing Toy with Electronic Innards, Let Us Know About that Too!


    The theme this month is Electronic Toys and it comes from a suggestion from dougw and beacon_dave .  You could build an electronic toy such as an executive toy, puzzle toy, educational toy, or cuddly toy. Or, you can follow in the footsteps of the very first theme that launched this program and create a techno toy from an existing toy by adding electronic innards.  As dougw points out, while some on this forum may find toys juvenile, it was after all the theme that launched this entire program, toy design design can be very sophisticated and its definitely big business.  Games and toys often drive the electronics industry to develop new technology. The video game industry, a vehicle that's driven interest in computing and electronics engineering for many, comes to mind.  That's why we've added the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic on top of the grand prize of a $200 Shopping Cart.  Its a fun, modern take on a classic game console.   If you're like me you have memories of playing endless rounds of Street Fighter 2 and NBA Jam back in the early 90s.  Additionally, three first place winners receive a $100 shopping cart.  Have fun and be creative.  Electronic Toys come in all forms. You might consider building a toy that is geared to STEM, an executive toy which you can take to the office, a puzzle game to keep you sharp, or something fun that brings joy and smile to the faces of kids (and kids at heart).


    Also, we've extended the 10 Year Challenge | Tell Us What You Can't Live Without for an ESP8266, Arduino Uno, or Arduino Nano! for another month so you can win an Arduino compatible board in honor of the 10th anniversary of the element14 community.  Simply go to comments section of the post and share stories, images, and video of what you couldn't live with 10 years ago, and what you couldn't live without today.


    The toy industry, by its very nature, must innovate to survive.  A good example of this comes from some of yours and also my childhood, Transformers the Movie from 1986, a movie which blows all other Transformers movies out of the water.  It was really unlike any children's movie ever done before, or ever since.  With Transformers at the height of its popularity, someone came up with the idea to introduce the next generation of transformers toys, by not only introducing new characters alongside existing ones,  but also killing off a bunch of the older characters within the first 30 minutes of the movie.  The characters were all G1 toys and what better way to convince kids to buy the entire new line of G2 toys than by making a movie where you kill off all the older toy models?  Among the causalities, were Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, and Megatron (who was reformatted as Galvatron by a giant planet sized robot voiced by Orson Welles).  Other popular characters that were killed to make room for new toys included Wheeljack, Prowl, Ironhide, Starscream, Brawn, and Ratchet.  What Hasbro didn't realize is that children formed an emotional attachment to the characters associated with toys.   The G2 line of toys was never able to match the popularity of the G1 toys.   The animated Transformers TV series (where nobody ever died) would last only a little more than a full season long.  But not before resurrecting the robot corpse of Optimus Prime, due to backlash from all the children that were traumatized by his death.


    Still, Transformers and the infamous 1986 "kids" movie is a fascinating lesson on the limits of a marketing strategy based on cynical consumerism.  After watching Transformer robots never get hit by bullets, no matter how many times they shot at each other, through 2 seasons of cartoon, Hasbro, the toy company behind Transformers, lured a bunch of children into a movie theater, only to watch their favorite toy robot characters get killed off, even during brief gunfire, so they could make room for the next line of toys:



    Electronic toys are often on the forefront of technological advances.  When it comes down to it, a video game console is nothing more than an electronic toy.   Credited with reviving the gaming console industry, Nintendo was the dominant player during the 8-bit era in the gaming industry with the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES.  The Super Nintendo, or SNES, the successor to the original NES, was one of the best selling consoles during the 16-bit era. Despite receiving its first serious competition from the first the Sega Genesis, and later the Sony PlayStation, it remained popular well into the 32-bit era.  Despite this, it would be Sony, not Nintendo, that would be the video game console to ship 100 milion units, with the release of the original Sony PlayStation. Ironically, Nintendo nearly partnered with Sony to bring CD technology to their console, and this produced a rare Nintendo-Sony PlayStation prototype that was featured in Live Stream: Help Ben Heck Fix a Rare Nintendo PlayStation Prototype!.  When their relationship soured, Sony decided to go it alone by introducing CD technology to a game console of their own, the Sony PlayStation. Nintendo reversed course and refused to let go of cartridges for a long time due to loading times and piracy concerns.  Because, they were the first to embrace CD technology, the successor to the original Sony PlayStation, the Sony PlayStation 2, would biggest console of all-time, with a 155 million units sold (Nintendo DS is a close second).


    Every year, toy companies release their newest creations, borrowing heavily on many inventor's ideas and others, in the hope that they'll have a runaway hit during the holiday season.  The timeline for going from initial idea, taking orders and showcasing at a toy fair, and then shipping in time for the holidays is quite short.   There's very little time to innovate once this process is already underway.   Nowadays, the declining cost of electronic components has enabled more technology to be embedded in toys.   In the scope of a toy product, the budget for electronic toys is minuscule, with retail prices for many toys needing to be below $50. While the cost of electronics components continues to decline, components such as servo motors, displays and switches can quickly exhaust a product's bill of materials.   Part of the challenge of designing an electronic toy is being frugal with the components that you do use.


    One thing that's been a huge benefit to the toy industry is the cost and availability of rapid prototyping.  3D printing, low-cost programmable microcontrollers, laser-cutting and other tools have allowed people to develop prototypes at costs and timelines that were once unimaginable. You now have access to tools that once required hundreds and thousands of dollars.  Today we have a convergence of the availability of affordable tools and individuals who cross multiple disciplines to produce product.  Will Write, the creator of the Sims video game series, uses the term Entertainment Designer, to describe innovators in the electronic toy industry. Innovators have some knowledge of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, as well as design.  The industry is no longer looking for a simple drawing or video. You're expected to provide working prototypes, which may be designed around and electronic components which will be key elements of future products.   This competition gives you a chance to use your imagination to experience what that's like. By making your own electronic toy, you could make something that is not only marketable, but also fun to play with.


    Key EventDate
    Contest Launches:15th in July 2019
    Qualifier Doc:9th in September 2019
    Contest Closes / Volunteer Judging:16th in September 2019
    Winners Announcement:23rd in September 2019



    Your Chance to Win


    Be Original
    Stick to the Theme
    • You could come up with a clever name that make's your project memorable!
      • This project is your baby! Part of the fun of bringing something new into the world is coming up with a name.
    • Your project could introduce something new or that is not commercially available or affordable!
    • If you have an idea for a project that doesn't fit the current theme then submit your idea in the comments section of the monthly poll.
    List the Steps
    Submit Video Proof
    • Provide the steps you took to complete your project (text, video, or images).
      • This could be a step by step how-to-guide, vlog, schematics, coding, napkin drawings, voice narration, or whatever you think will be useful!
    • If it doesn't work that's fine, this is more about the journey than the end product.
    • A short video is all that is required but you can shoot as much video as you like.
    • You are encouraged to be creative and have as much fun as possible!


    Your Project Examples


    Electronic Toys
    Vintage Toy Synthesiser - The End Result This little bug has a bug


    Electronic Toys
    Sparky the Power Chick DollaS Dancer



    Your Prizes


    One Grand Prize Winner Wins an SNES Classic Plus a $200 Shopping CartThree First Place Winners Win a $100 Shopping Cart

    The SNES Classic Plus a $200 Shopping Cart

    • Keep or Gift the Shopping Cart to another member(s) for their project(s)!
    • 3 First Place Winners Win a $100 Shopping Cart




    Your Project, Your Ideas!



    About Project14

    Every month you'll have a new poll where you'll get to decide an upcoming project competition, based on your interests, that will take place a couple of months in advance. Themes are broad in scope so that everyone can participate regardless of skill set.


    What are Monthly Themes?

    • Every month (around the 14th of each month) a new theme will be posted on Project14.
    • Submit your ideas (proposals) for your projects to get feedback from the rest of the community.
    • Submit a project entry in the Theme space once you start working on it.


    What are Monthly Theme Polls?

    • Every month (around the 14th of each month) there is a project theme poll.
    • Vote on which project competition you want to see for the following upcoming theme.
      • The themes voted on during the previous poll decided the upcoming theme.
      • If you submit an idea for a theme that is not used then it can still be used in a future poll.
    • Themes comments and ideas from the comments section of the project theme poll.

    Step 1: Log in or register on element14, it's easy and free.

    Step 2: Post in the comments section below to begin a discussion on your idea. Videos, pictures and text are all welcomed forms of submission.

    Step 3: Submit a blog post of your progress on your project by the end of the month.  You are free to submit as many blog entries as you like until the beginning of the next theme.


    Be sure to include video proof of your project!


    Visit:  Electronic Toys  or tag your project blog ElectronicToyCH


    You have until September 16th End of Day to submit your completed project!


    A jury consisting of your peers will judge project submissions!


    In the Comments Below:  What Are Your Ideas for Electronic Toy Projects?


    If you are planning on Upcycling an Existing Toy with Electronic Innards, Let Us Know About that Too!