Influence of Radio technology on toys

The First World War was devastating for Europe and everyone was still trying to cover up for loss. As the situation improved, Europe was ready with a lot of new inventions and technologies by the time things improved. These technologies started appearing in the market sooner than anyone thought. Things started to get simpler with new products entering the market every day. Innovators started using technologies to produce groundbreaking products west could have never thought of. Things started to improve as the trade flourished and economy started picking up. This is was the time when technology entered into the recreational domain and a major metamorphosis over toys was seen. Small scale electric motors were readily used which eliminated mechanical systems in toys and batteries were used as a portable source of power.

David E. Hughes had already demonstrated that wireless signals could be transmitted and received. Tesla later showed the world how these systems worked in a wireless scenario and planted a thought in everyone’s mind. Tesla also made “Teleautomatons”, which were boats controlled through a radio. Scientists and innovators of the era understood the infinite potential this new technology and started to work out new products that would change it all for everyone. With all this provided Marconi started his own series of experiments and successfully transmitted a wireless signal over a distance of 2.4 kilometers. During WW1 Archibald Low had created a remote guided drone plane. Over the time battery performance got a boost, invention of transistors replaced vacuum tubes which were known to be power hogs.

Later the technology revolutionized the toy industry with RC toys, as German scientist Dr. Dieter Schulte came up with the first fully controllable RC Helicopter. From there after companies did not care to look behind and made great RC toys one after another. Now they are available in every form imaginable and are very popular amongst kids and hobbyists.

Now a typical radio controlled toy assembly consists of power source, motor, transmitter and receiver. The power source is used to propel the motor which is installed in the vehicle. The vehicle also has a receiver which receives the signals sent by radio transmitter. A secondary power is needed in the transmitter too. The vehicle might contain more than one motor to control the direction of movement; in some toys a differential drive may also be used. Typical Remote Control Cars also has a Servo mechanism which controls the motor speed, brakes and steering.

Two types of signals are used to transmit signals from the radio to the car: radio signal with PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) and light based using IR (Infra Red) signals. IR signals are also used in television remote controls and work over a shorter range as compared to 2.4 GHz frequency radios. Most of the hobby grade RC toys now use 2.4 GHz as a standard frequency.

Now these toys are available in all forms and sizes, smaller scale replicas of real vehicles is a hot selling segment. In the modern world several nitro methane-powered off road and on road vehicles have been introduced. RC10 buggy is a beautiful example of modern engineering and groundbreaking use of technology. Most of the parts were made of aircraft grade aluminum alloy and the vehicle incorporated oil based shock absorbers. With its unique differential, the vehicle could be tuned to run on any terrain possible. CAT was another revolutionary vehicle and still considered as the best four wheel drive in remote controlled category. These kinds of vehicles might not be very popular amongst kids due to its price and availability, but this is what inspires the industry to come up with next best toy based on a similar principal.