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New Tech in Toy Doll

Techstination feature for Wednesday, February 26, 2003

New technology... in a toy doll. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. There have been a number of attempts over the last few years to incorporate varying degrees of robotics or artificial intelligence into toys and dolls. At the recent American International Toy Fair... Playmates Toys announced the latest in the line... Baby Bright Eyes. It's a doll with eyes that move ... using small, silent motors developed by a company called NanoMuscle. Company president Rod MacGregor...

"Its eyes are animated in the same way a human's eyes are. So two degrees of freedom, left, right, up and down, eye lids that blink. The unique nature of the NanoMuscle is the movement is exactly like a human muscle. It's smooth, silent, very lifelike."

With dolls like this before, kids could hear motors whirring when there was movement. The silent movement is almost eery...

"She reacts to her environment, to her toys and to the child that's playing with her. She can look at her accessories, her little teddy bear or to the child that's playing with her."

MacGregor says Baby Bright Eyes, which will sell for about fifty dollars, is just the start...

"This next generation of toys, you'll see more and more animation in them. Things like mouths that move, that can smile, that can talk. Eyes, the whole facial animation, almost like a movie level of animatronics, only at a toy price point."

NanoMuscle says it believes there's a 12 billion dollar market for its new mini-motor technology in everything from toys to cars, for interior controls. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.