One of the Walkie Bits turtles (TOMY)
Miniature toy turtles small enough to fit in the palm of the hand are this winter's hottest toys. Kids love the adorable way that the turtles slowly plod along, stop, and plod along again.
The name of this little creature is Walkie Bits, released by toy maker Takara in June 2005. (Takara and Tomy have merged to become TOMY Co. Ltd.) Walkie Bits are about five centimeters long and come in six candy-like colors, including orange, melon, and soda. The turtles have been a big hit, with 300,000 units sold in just a few months.
Each turtle has eight fast and slow walking patterns. As well as walking, the toys can also run, play electronic tunes, and move to a rhythm taught to it by its owner. It may be just a toy, but it has functions you would expect to find in a robot.
Poke the turtle's shell and it starts to walk, plodding along with its rump wriggling back and forth. Tap rhythmically on the shell and - amazingly - the turtle will walk to the same rhythm. Walkie Bits can also race against each other, and they always try their best. Just looking at these cute turtles can help you relax after a tiring day.
Each turtle comes with a case. (TOMY)
The turtles come with a colorful storage case, so you can put them in your pocket or bag and take them with you wherever you go. You can also decorate the shells of the turtles with stickers or nail varnish to create your own original Walkie Bits. In November, kits that allow owners to dress up or change the look of their turtles with alternative shells, as well as turtles with glossy shells, went on sale, making Walkie Bits even more fun.
This fun and ingenious toy has even been recognized abroad. In the November 2005 issue of Time magazine in the United States, Walkie Bits were selected as one of the best inventions of 2005 in the robot category. This is the second such award for a Takara product, following the 2002 selection of the Bowlingual dog bark translator.
Why not take a few moments out of your busy day to spend some time playing with a lovable toy turtle?
(Updated in January 2006)