The Post Dispatch has announced Kaotiks as their number one toy for 2013!
Named one of Kohl's Top 25 Dream Toys 2013
Named best toy for ages 8+ in the 2013 Post- Dispatch Toy Test
Created entirely new play pattern for RC vehicles
Arena design lets beginners do advanced tricks right out of the box
Innovative swap-out battery system allows for continuous play
a blank sheet of paper.
Objex created an innovative RC car system with a unique play pattern. It was licensed by a major toy company and is currently available in big-box stores around the world.
Where they were
Where we took them
After receiving critical acclaim for the Defiants line of 4x4 toy trucks, Objex set its sights on reinventing the remote controlled vehicle. Step one was reconnaissance. We stormed the RC aisle at the local toy store and captured a handful of popular products. Back at the Objex home base, we ran each toy through a series of grueling tests, stripping the vehicles to their core elements and identifying the most fun and frustrating parts of the play experience. There were no survivors.
What we discovered was that RC cars on the market make two promises that they do not deliver on, namely
1) You can control this awesomely fast car!
2) You can drive this car off of a ramp and do awesome tricks!
False. Even the best cars in our tests had jerky controls that made them too difficult to maneuver at anything beyond a snail's pace. Trying to do a simple figure-8 in a 10x12' room was nigh impossible. Now apply this spastic control and try to hit a ramp with any kind speed. Good luck. What you end up with is either a lot of high-speed last-second misses or a halted, lurching, serpentine run-up to a lackluster flop over the ramp. Whee
What makes these failures so disappointing is that when the stars align and you are able to pull off a power slide or high-speed jump (you know, the stuff that happens continuously in the commercials), it is magical. So we made it our mission to design a toy that allowed a young kid or an RC noob to do fantastic tricks without hours of frustration in between.
In the pursuit of this perfect RC experience, we researched some emerging technologies, filled dozens of white boards, and built all kinds of protoypes. While experimenting with some early concepts we discovered something interesting. We had created some funnel-like walls to guide cars into a ramp. We had also put low walls around the test area to keep the car from escaping while we ran our tests. On a whim, we stopped trying to steer the car and just floored it. The car careened around the test area, randomly hit the ramp to pull off an amazing jump, and continued its delightful chaos. And so a brand was born. Kaotiks would put a vehicle in an arena with cool elements, and let a kid pull the trigger and perform miracles.
With a solid play pattern in place, we set to work developing the vehicle and sets that would deliver those magical moments. And along the way we wanted to fix some of the problems with the exisitng products. The car needed to be fast and beautiful (duh), but one of our top priorities with was to get rid of the boring down time while you waited for the battery to charge. So we designed our car to work like a cordless drill: drill until the battery dies; switch the dead battery with the one on the charger; drill some more; repeat. The swap-out battery became a cornerstone in both the function and the aesthetic of the car's design.
While we were figuring out what the car should look like and how it would work, we started developing playgrounds where the vehicle could really shine. We designed the sets around two core elements: stunts that would allow the car to do cool tricks and walls that would contain the car and guide the car into the stunts. Engineering determined the fundimental geometry that would steer the car and optimize air time, while the design team developed a dystopian, futuristic grunge aesthetic for the Kaotiks world. Another sin of the toy car world that we wanted to rectify was the one-and-done character of playsets, i.e. most playsets in the car aisle do one trick one way and that's it. So we went to great lengths to make all of the Kaotiks arenas modular. We wanted kids to have as much fun building and designing new sets as they did playing with them (well, almost as much fun).
Through iterative design and prototyping, the car, remote, and arenas began to take shape. We used our electrical engineering partners to create functional hardware and test different electronic concepts; the arenas evolved from cardboard and duct tape to 3D-printed parts; and we created looks-like car models as well as functional prototypes. As the physical components progressed, we began designing the graphical elements. The brand logo and names were locked in, and we created a slew of sponsership brands to adorn the vehicle and arenas, plus we designed packaging art, marketing images, and other detailes for the playsets. Pretty soon, we were ready to unleash Kaotiks on the world. We didn't know if the world would be ready.
Kaotiks was a huge hit at national and international toy shows. Toy makers and toy buyers couldn't believe how easy it was to do tricks when they first picked up the remote. Redwood Ventures loved the toy and brand enough to buy the license and start production. Objex worked closely with their manufacturing partners to ensure that the design intent on all features made it to the shelves. This included tweaks to CAD models, updates to the electrical hardware, and creating the final packaging designs.
Since no one understands a product as well as its creators, Objex has continued to play a large role in the Kaotiks marketing efforts. From the small details to large productions, we have been there to lead and guide. Our designers were on set to help produce and direct the TV commercials that have aired on major networks. Objex also runs day-to-day operations for the Kaotiks Facebook and YouTube pages, engaging customers and bloggers to do promotional giveaways, provide technical support, and show the world how awesome these little cars are.
On the self
Kaotiks exploded on shelves in 2013 to great critical acclaim from kids, parents, and toy experts. Several national and international retails bought the toy, and Toys R Us, Target, Costco, and Kohl's all like the brand so much they asked Objex to design exclusive sets for their stores. Kohl's even named it one of their Top 25 Dream Toys that year, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch awarded it the best toy for kids 8+ in their annual toy test. Objex Design is so proud to have turned cardboard, duct tape, and whiteboard doodles into an internationally beloved product, to have created order from chaos.