Animatronics and AI: High-tech toys for Christmas lists - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Animatronics and AI: High-tech toys for Christmas lists

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(AP/Meredith Image) (AP/Meredith Image)

(AP/Meredith) -- Even the Lego models are high-tech this Christmas.

At famous London toy store Hamleys, children are getting their hands on the top picks for this festive season. That includes this Lego Boost robot, named 'Vernie.'

Users can build and customise the friendly-looking droid and even launch darts from its shoulder mounted shooter.

"Well, what we've seen over the last year is a real hit with robotics and animatronics. And lots of our top ten includes that feature that sort of trend," says Hamleys senior buyer Steven Pearson.

One example is FurReal's 'Tyler the Playful Tiger.' The animatronic cat responds to sounds and touch with over a hundred different combinations.

"So, if you roar at it, for instance, it will roar back, okay," explains Pearson.

"When you cuddle it or pet it, it will purr, for instance. When you touch it's back, just like a normal cat, the tail will wag."

Another high-tech toy is this life-like Luvabella Doll, which boasts natural fluid movements and responses.

Users can feed her, play with her and help her fall asleep using three interactive accessories.

"They've always tried to make them cleverer and cleverer, but they have actually got much cleverer these days," says head of buying, Victoria Kay.

"So, we've got something like Luvabella, who is really realistic baby doll, and the more you play with her, the more she learns, which is really clever and very much not like in the days where the dolls that I had where you got really excited if they wet themselves."

Artificial intelligence is a buzzword in the tech scene and now it's making its way into toys.

This Hot Wheels Street Racing Edition uses AI to allow drivers race against a speedy computer in auto-drive mode.

"This takes it to a new level so you can actually play using a remote control, but you can play against the computer and it won't come off the track," explains Pearson.

"So it's bit like Scalextric, but you can't get it off the track. So you can play against your friends or play against the computer using AI technology."

Of course, not all toys are turning high-tech. Hamleys is showcasing this new 70-centimetre tall Barbie doll with removable fashion accessories.

There's also this 'How To Train Your Dragon' Playmobil set, complete with roaring 'Hiccup' and 'Toothless' dragons.

"I think there's a kind of expectation, isn't there, that kids want the latest things," says Kay.

"I think there'll always be a need for a traditional toy and things like Playmobil are never, ever going to go out of fashion.

"It's been around since 1974 and it's a classic, it's well made, it's good quality, it'll last forever. I played with it, my kids played with it, hopefully their kids will play with it.

"So, I think as much as technology is getting smarter, I don't think it will ever mean that traditional things will go away."

Not everyone's a fan of the high-tech toy trend.

Parent Barbro Thomassen is visiting London from Norway. She says she sometimes tries to steer clear of high-tech toys when shopping for her 12-year-old son.

"I think they're very expensive, so we don't want to use too much money on that," she says.

"Because I want him to be creative himself and not just look at a screen, you know, I want him to make things himself. So, we try to buy him Lego, which is very good for the creative side of a child."

Hamleys toy store was founded 257 years ago in 1760.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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