ThingMaker uses 3D printer technology for kids to create toys
(Photo from Mattel)
Remember toys that encouraged kids to make their own creations, like Easy Bake Oven and Creepy Crawlers? Toys like this are still around, but Mattel wants to take it a step further. At this past weekend's Toy Fair in NYC, Mattel unveiled their latest toys which are more sophisticated than Barbie dolls and board games. One of the more impressive is called ThingMaker, a reboot of a similar toy from the 60s that uses modern 3D printing technology.
Now kids can design and create their own toys that are more advanced than plastic bugs. Using the ThingMaker app, which Mattel developed with Autodesk, kids can create complex toys, jewelry, figures and accessories. ThingMaker will begin shipping orders this fall at $300 making it one of the more inexpensive and accessible 3D printers on the market.
But what about safety? We all know how dangerous those Easy Bake Ovens actually are with that really hot light bulb and metal plate. Giving kids a high tech printer to go wild with sounds fishy, but ThingMaker has that covered. There are several safety features including a retractable print head to prevent little fingers from touching it and an automatic door lock to make sure kids don't burn themselves. Just because this printer is designed with kids in mind, they still need to be patient: a large toy could take 6 to 8 hours to finish.
(Photo from Mattel)
ThingMaker isn't only the toy Mattel is redesigning. The company also revealed a new View-Master at NYC's Toy Fair. Dubbed the View-Master DLX is based on Google Cardboard and features better optical lenses, focal adjustment, and a headphone connector. The headset also has a redesigned latch latch to keep it secure. There's also a smartphone mount which allows a greater range of phone sizes.
What makes this new View-Master different from the standard are a range of VR experiences, including a two player labyrinth game. It works by one player wearing the headset and playing the role of escapee. They have to solve riddles and puzzles to work their way out of the maze. The other player uses a physical book of clues to help the other make it out alive. The VR will also feature a dinosaur themes “experience pack” adding to its current line up of Space, Destinations, and Wildlife packs. The labyrinth game has a price tag of $19.99 while the packs will cost $14.99. The headset itself will be $40 and is expected to release this fall.
With these two technologically advanced toys hitting shelves later this year, Mattel are definitely stepping it up and keeping it modern. Both devices look promising and will be a big hit with kids this holiday season.
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