By Ed Sum
Takara Tomy’s toy line may well get more than just a reinventing of the wheel. Their next line of products may soon transform if the videos from the Tokyo Toy Show 2013 are any indication. In prototype form is a Transformers vehicle that’s capable of morphing from car to humanoid robot form, and no doubt vice versa. All of this can be currently powered by an iPhone.
This concept created by engineer Kenji Ishida sold his own line of transforming vehicles at $24K apiece last year through his company Brave Robotics. Only 10 units were sold and this toy was hardly ready for children. Well, maybe if he was Bill Gates or Donald Trump with that kind of money to spare.
With Takara now involved, the potential for new Transformers to arrive (and maybe just in time for the next Transformers series than film) with motorized parts to transform planes, trains and automobiles into giant mecha is going to be exciting. The big question is just how easily will it be to turn a tank or other vehicles into humanoid form. The warriors from the Transformers Universe are quite diverse, and the issue of how each of them changes shape is unique to each vehicle mode. The issue of miniaturizing the gears needed to make the changes happen will be tricky. Not every robot can transform the same way. The price point may be a concern too.
Gone will be the days of a $25 toy. Instead, it may be inflated accordingly (MSRP $350) so that Optimus Prime will fly faster off the shelves than roll out to the floor to mete out justice.