Choppers, phones, tablets steal scene at Tokyo Toy Show


A toy helicopter created from cannibalized smartphones was among the main attractions Friday at the International Tokyo Toy Show, where producers were targeting the young as well as the young-at-heart.

The motor that makes a telephone vibrate powers the rotor blades of the Nano-Falcon, which its maker, CCP, said is the world’s smallest radio-controlled helicopter. The 6.5-cm machine weighs just 11 grams, has a range of 5 meters and can fly for up to five minutes, but the company said it is feeding the fantasies of adults who never really grew up.

“Japan’s aging population made us think of developing a toy targeting adults,” said Naoki Nakagawa, head of sales at the firm. “Ten or 20 years ago, helicopter toys could cost a lot of money. Those who couldn’t afford it at the time can now make their childhood dream come true at a reasonable price.”

The minichopper retails at around ¥4,700, a price company spokeswoman Kiyoko Hayasaki said is based on the use of mobile phone parts. “We were able to set the price at this relatively cheap level because we took some key parts from stocks that are widely available in the market for smartphones,” she said.

Elsewhere at the exhibition, held at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward, toy makers were showcasing tablet computers specifically for small children.

“Children like to emulate what adults do, and a survey said 90 percent of tablet computer users let their children use the (devices),” said Yuki Itagaki, a spokeswoman for MegaHouse, a subsidiary of major toy maker Bandai Namco Holdings Inc.

MegaHouse’s “tap me” tablet was specifically developed for children aged between 4 and 8, with built-in parental controls that include a timer to limit use.

“When the timer reaches the set time, the tablet shows a sleeping face instead of turning off,” Itagaki said. “Children can’t bring tablets to their parents and say: ‘Hey, the power is off. Turn it on please!’ “

Despite its ¥20,790 price tag, MegaHouse aims to sell 100,000 of them in the next 12 months.

U.S. toy manufacturer Mattel Inc. was busy showing off its Apptivity Monkey — a fluffy monkey designed to hold Apple Inc.’s iPhone, and to protect it from overenthusiastic toddlers who can press buttons on the creature’s limbs to create music.

Meanwhile, Takara Tomy has a stand for the iPhone that dances along to the music it is playing. “We hope adults with a sense of fun like this product,” said Tsubasa Tominaga of the firm’s new products team.

The toy show will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday, its final day.