THE TOYNEWS BLOG: Top Toy Fair innovations

Our pick of the most inventive products on display during the 2013 Toy Fair season.
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"Lack of originality will kill the toy industry".

Those are the words of a retired industry veteran who spoke to me at the London Toy Fair this year. 

But if the breadth of product on offer at this year's Toy Fairs is anything to go by, then we've got nothing to worry about. 

From Nuremberg to New York and London to Hong Kong, companies around the world again proved why this industry is so prolific and consistently strong year after year.

Here's my personal pick of some of the most innovative toys on show at this year's fairs:


The app toy market might not be as lucrative as first imagined, but it's still a relatively new category and there's room for improvement.

HolograFX, a play-set that turns your smartphone into a holographic-style projector, is a perfect example of true innovation pushing boundaries. It was awarded Top Tech Toy by The Gadget Show at this year's London Toy Fair. 

You can even film yourself and turn this into a holographic version of you. It simply has to be seen to be believed.

Skylanders Swap Force

The idea of collectable toys "coming to life" when connected to a video game console is ingenious, but innovating further is no mean feat.

In the third Skylanders game, Swap Force, kids will be able to swap the bottom half of one figure with the top half of another to create their own hybrid game characters (a possible 256 combinations can be made, adding further collectability to the brand). It's a clever move and one that will no doubt make it even trickier for Disney Infinity to really challenge Skylanders.

Wow Packs

Every kid needs a backpack, but why not one that moves? 

The Wow Packs from Wow Stuff claim to be the first remote-control animated backpacks that come alive with a touch of a button. Watch out for licensed versions post-launch.

Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror

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It's hard to pick just one product from Mattel's stand of wonders, but the Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror left a real lasting impression.

Girls can hold a wand, pretend to dip it into make-up and see it appear on their face on an iPad, thanks to Augmented Reality and facial recognition technology. As the girl moves around, the make-up "sticks" to their face, regardless of the angles and distance from the mirror. Impressive stuff.

Battroborg robots

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During my visit to Tomy's stand at the London Toy Fair, I saw a host of retailers try these out. And the battling robots brought a smile to every single one of them.

The Battroborg bots are remote controlled using a pair of Wii-style remotes. Each time you swing them, the robots throw a punch. The idea of course is to get your robot to knock out the other one.

Battroborg's have been a huge hit in Japan, selling 10,000 units in their launch weekend.

Ben 10 Omniverse Omni-Net Omnitrix

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This Omnitrix wrist band promises to bring boys even closer to the Ben 10 TV series and digital devices. 

For example, when they're watching a DVD, the Omnitrix will make sounds at certain points during the episide, reflecting what happens on-screen. It's another example of how digital and physical are becoming more closely aligned, and one that Bandai should be applauded for.

Aqua Dragons Underwater World

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Brainstorm's brine shrimp-style product lets kids grow their own aquatic creatures that can measure up to 2cm long.

Children can hatch and care for the little Aqua Dragon pets using the tank, pipette, feeding spoon and other products which will hit shelves in March. 


Another robotic dog toy? Don't let Teksta's looks fool you - this is one clever pup.

Character Options is bringing back the Tekno puppy from 1999, complete with iPad compatibility, the ability to dance to music, "chew" a magnetic bone accessory and even somersault.

We all know how well that other popular pet toy from the late '90s performed when it made its comeback last Christmas...

Thanks to Pocket Lint for the image

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