HEXBUG HEADED FOR MCDONALD’S GOLDEN ARCHES

February 5th, 2013

IFI and McDonald’s® Partner to Feature HEXBUG Micro Robots in McDonald’s Happy Meal®

Innovation First International, creators of the widely popular HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures brand, today announced a partnership with McDonald’s USA LLC, the nation’s leading foodservice provider, to feature custom HEXBUG toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals at participating restaurants across North America.

The four week HEXBUG Happy Meal program will run from February 22 – through March 21, 2013 while supplies last. Participating McDonald’s restaurants across the United States and Canada will offer customers one of six collectible HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures with the purchase of a Happy Meal:

  • Fast crawling HEXBUG Speed Beetle™ in Green and Red
  • Slow crawling HEXBUG Beetle™ in Black and Orange
  • Bump and go HEXBUG Nano® Pullback Blue and Black

“To be a part of the iconic McDonald’s Happy Meal experience is truly an honor,” said Chris Troyak, president of Innovation First Labs, Inc. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reach millions of new and old fans directly with special, collectible HEXBUG toys that they can only get at McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s will support the partnership with a fully-integrated marketing campaign that includes television advertising, in-restaurant merchandising and custom packaging, coupled with an online web presence. The television advertising campaign will run from February 22 – March 21, 2013.

Designed to foster children’s creativity, develop their fine-motor skills, and fuel hours of imaginative playtime, HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures are innovative, high-tech toys with features and behaviors that enable them to react to their environment. The world-recognized brand is available at retailers nationwide and at hexbug.com.

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IFI PARTNERS WITH RAVENSBURGER FOR HEXBUG® THEMED BOARD GAME

January 29th, 2013


HEXBUG® Creator Inks Deal to Bring Kakerlakak to Retail in Europe this Spring

Innovation First International, masterminds behind the internationally recognized HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures brand, today announced a new licensing partnership with Ravensburger, to introduce Kakerlakak – the world’s first HEXBUG themed board game. Due to crawl onto retail shelves in Europe this Spring, the Kakerlakak game will be on display at the Spielwarenmesse, International Toy Fair Nuremburg, Germany from January 30 – February 4 at Booth A12-D13 in hall 12.0.

“We are excited to add Ravensburger as a HEXBUG licensee for the debut of Kakerlakak, which introduces our innovative vibrating robotic toy to traditional family game play,” said Tony Norman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation First International. “Ravensburger’s approach to product development goes hand in hand with our brand philosophy of delivering quality entertainment experiences that can be enjoyed by the entire family.”

Kakerlakak is a fast-paced action game, with a frenetic HEXBUG Nano® mini robot at the center of the action. The interactive Kakerlakak game requires rapid response and hand-to-eye coordination, and challenges children ages five and up to maneuver the skittering bug through the kitchen maze using a variety of kitchen utensils. The ultimate winner is the player with the most chips at the end of the game, which they earn by trapping the bug into their corner.

“We are very pleased to partner with Innovation First, whose wildly popular HEXBUG brand has enabled us to deliver a new and innovative board game that speaks to trends in popular culture and will help expand their growing European fan base,” said Thomas Zumbühl, International Product Manager of Ravensburger.

Ravensburger is Europe’s leading supplier of puzzles, games and craft products and one of the leading publishers of books for children and adolescents in the German-speaking area. The blue triangle is one of the most renowned trademarks in Germany. The programme comprises almost 8,000 different products (including all country-specific editions) that are sold worldwide and 85% of which are produced internally. In 2011 a workforce of 1,640 earned revenues of 319.5 million euros.

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New UK Sales Director for Innovation First International

January 10th, 2013

The following story was written by Lewis Tyler with Toy News on 1/10/2013.

HEXBUG company hires Daniel Richardson.

Maker of miniature vibrating bugs Innovation First has revealed its new UK sales director – Daniel Richardson.

Richardson boasts over 15 years of toy trade experience and previously held sales and managing director positions at Digital Blue and Funrise.

Innovation First’s UK MD Ian Laugher said: “The team is very excited to have Daniel on board. He brings a wealth of knowledge and I know he is looking forward to building on our current product successes.”

Innovation First most recently released the Hexbug brand extension Warriors and is set to show off a raft of new product at Toy Fair.

 

INNOVATION FIRST TAPS U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE CVS CAREMARK (CVS) FOR UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES

January 8th, 2013

Innovation First Makes Good on Promise to Defend Trade Secrets Across Entire Supply Chain

GREENVILLE, Texas – January 4, 2013 –Innovation First International filed a complaint today with the U.S. International Trade Commission, requesting an investigation be instituted against CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) – a pharmacy with over 7,500 stores nationwide, for unfair trade practices. The claim against CVS is related to the “Robo Fish” toy, manufactured by Zuru Toys, Inc., and sold in CVS stores to its consumers. Innovation First contends that the “Robo Fish” toy includes technology developed by the company and its employees that was misappropriated by persons affiliated with Zuru Toys.

“This should come as no surprise to CVS. We warned all major retailers last year of the consequences they would face if they were to import the Robo Fish product,” explained Tony Norman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation First International. “Against our advice, this retailer knowingly chose to carry the product line, and will now have to face the legal consequences associated with its actions,” concluded Norman.

Innovation First asserts that the “Robo Fish” product incorporates technology that was stolen by an IFI engineer and shopped for several months to other toy companies.  The engineer ultimately placed “Robo Fish” with Zuru Toys and resigned as head of R&D for Innovation First’s China development team the day of the sale.  Innovation First sued Zuru Toys more than a year ago and remains engaged in litigation with Zuru Toys, despite attempts by Zuru Toys to avoid the U.S. justice system. Major U.S. retailers other than CVS have elected not to carry the offending products. Innovation First plans to release its official version of the Aqua Fish product under the HEXBUG brand this August.

“The toy industry is notorious for encouraging knock-off artists by placing offending products on their retail shelves,” said Norman. “Retailers know the toy industry, but some pretend not to recognize obvious knock-offs or other unfair trade practices.  Those retailers bury their heads in the sand and rely on the hollow promise of indemnification from unscrupulous suppliers – a practice that stifles true innovation.”

International Trade Commission investigations and proceedings focus directly on the wrongful actions of companies, like CVS, that import offending products.  “Unlike a typical toy company, we are broadly diversified and not dependent solely upon toy revenue. Therefore, we won’t hesitate to file suit against retailers, or seek justice through other avenues like the ITC if anyone in the supply chain steals our technology, confidential information or trade secrets,” concluded Norman.

About Innovation First International:

Innovation First International was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs.  Innovation First International’s three main subsidiaries, VEX Robotics, Inc., Innovation First Labs, Inc. (makers of HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures), and RackSolutions, Inc. span the education, consumer and business-to-business markets.

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Guest Blog Post: HEXBUG Warriors – How Do the Battling Robots Stack Up?

November 19th, 2012

Written by Julia, senior editor for BestToysGuide.com

HEXBUG has come out with yet another neat product- Warriors. But they have a lot to live up to.Bobble Bots and the HEXBUG Scarabs are, in my opinion, some of the best toys 2012 has to offer. Will the Warriors be able to stand up to the forces of awesomeness? Let’s find out…

What Are The Warriors?

Each Warrior is a small, high-tech looking creature with its own unique features to aid it in battle. There are 4 in total so far-

  • Caldera
  • Bionika
  • Viridia
  • Tronkon

The Warriors follow in the nano footsteps of their HEXBUG forbearers, moving via nano vibration technology. It basically looks like they’re vibrating so rapidly it’s something that you feel almost more then you see if you touch one while it’s on. To battle each other, they move seemingly at random and will hit each other repeatedly until one of the Warriors health meters is completely depleted. With a regular playset the battles seemed to last about 1 ½ -3 minutes-this can vary though depending on which Warrior you use, and where they are battling.

 

Insect Robots, Just in Time for Halloween

October 30th, 2012

The New York Times Gadgetwise blog featured our HEXBUG Scarab XL and HEXBUG Spider XL Micro Robotic Creatures in this post, just in time for Halloween. Check out the complete post below.

“Remote-controlled cars, trucks and helicopters are common these days. Insects, on the other hand, are relatively new on the scene.

Hexbug Scarab XL and Spider XL ($40 each, from www.hexbug.com) are big brother editions of their tiny button-cell counterparts, with many more features. Powered by AA batteries, the robots come in your choice of colors of translucent plastic, allowing you to see the fascinating gear-driven mechanics of each of the legs, as they work in concert to create forward motion.

Of the two, the spider is the more sophisticated, with a LED eye on a head that turns 360 degrees like a gun turret, allowing it to move in a complete circle. But the faster Scarab can pop from its back to its feet if it is placed upside down.

The remote control, powered by a single nine-volt battery, makes steering easy. It offers three forward moving speeds (slow, medium and fast) and one reverse speed, and two channels, allowing multiple bugs to be operated independently or at the same time. Both are in stores now, in case you want to infest your Halloween decorations.” -By Warren Buckleitner via Gadgetwise.

 

Best Toys Guide Names HEXBUG Warriors as Top Toys for Christmas

October 3rd, 2012

The editors from The Best Toys Guide reviewed our HEXBUG Warriors, and we are proud to announce that they have selected Warriors as a Top Toys for Christmas pick. In their own words, they summarized their feelings on the product line by concluding, “They created a great play experience for kids, and they have multiple dimensions that keep each battle interesting. Battle items have long been popular for kids, but never before have I seen one that that provides such continuous entertainment. It’s not just a simple launch and load item that you fire at opponents, it’s not just an action figure to stage mock battles with, it’s a tiny robotic warrior that seems to have a mind of its own and it will fight to the knockout.”

Check out their website and included below is their video review of HEXBUG Warriors.

A Spectacled Owl – HEXBUG Review and Giveaway

August 14th, 2012

A Spectacled Owl gets acquainted with HEXBUG through a review of the HEXBUG Spider.

A Spectacled Owl HEXBUG Review

“Many times when we have been in the toy aisle at Target, my kids have noticed the HexBug’s.  I honestly had no idea what they were or why they would be considered fun.  However, we (and I say we because I played too!) had the privilege to get one of the HexBug Spiders to review.  You would have thought it was Christmas up in here!  They begged me over & over again to open it and could hardly wait for me to take the pictures I needed for this review (“Mooooom!  Are you done YET?”  “Mooooooom, can we play with it NOW?”)”

Read the full review at: A Spectacled Owl

INNOVATION FIRST LAUNCHES ELITE NEW TOY FORCE: HEXBUG WARRIORS BATTLING ROBOTS WITH CUSTOMIZABLE BATTLE SETS

August 2nd, 2012

Highly Anticipated New Line of HEXBUG Products Hit Retail Stores Worldwide and Online at HEXBUG.com/Warriors

GREENVILLE, Texas – Aug. 2, 2012 – The creator of the popular HEXBUG brand of high-tech micro robotic creatures has unleashed the newest members of the HEXBUG family: the rough and tough HEXBUG® Warriors Battling Robots. These futuristic fighters are tiny, collectible, micro robots that use the physics of vibration, similar to the famed patented HEXBUG Nano, to propel forward and challenge competitors in sleek new customizable Battle Arenas and Stadiums.

“We’re introducing some exciting new high-tech features and competitive elements with the launch of HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots, including customizable armor, damage indicator lights, and shock sensors, that give kids new, interactive ways to engage in open-ended play with our toys,” said Chris Troyak, president of Innovation First Labs, Inc. “This is the first major extension of the HEXBUG brand that uses our successfully patented HEXBUG Nano technology, and it is just the beginning of what we have planned to roll-out for the holiday season.”

HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots come in four colors – red, yellow, blue and green – representing four dueling science academies from the year 2087, Viridia Prep, Tronikon Tech, Bionika Cyborg & Caldera Prep. Kids can outfit each Warrior with strategic combinations of mechanical weapons and armor to outmaneuver their rivals, and control the fate of their academy’s Warrior fleet.  As each HEXBUG Warrior Battling Robot is turned on and powered up, the selected weapons come to life kinetically using the patented HEXBUG Nano vibration technology. As the battles rage on, each robot’s jabs activate an onboard Shock Sensor causing the Damage Indicator Light to blink more rapidly as the Warrior’s health decreases. Ultimately, only one HEXBUG Warrior Battling Robot is left standing victorious on the Battle Arena or Stadium.

Beginning today, HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots are marching into retail stores nationwide including Walmart, Target, Toys“R”Us and RadioShack, among others. In September, they will also be available in Canada and the United Kingdom exclusively at Toys“R”Us stores. Kicking off the launch, HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots will be showcased and demoed at two highly influential mom blog events being held in New York, NY, coinciding with the BlogHer 2012 conference, on August 2 hosted by The Big Toy Book and on August 3 hosted by BSM Media.

New HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots now available include:

  • HEXBUG Warriors Battling Robots – Kids can operate their HEXBUG Warriors in Training Mode, with unlimited health, for scrimmages and testing purposes. Once the Warriors are equipped and ready for battle, they can be powered into Match Mode and are set to enter into competition, where they crash, jab and jostle with their opponents until they win or lose by running out of health at which point they deactivate. Once put in Match Mode, each robot’s Shock Sensor activates its Damage Indicator Light which changes colors from green to red and blinks more rapidly as its health decreases. There are 12 assorted HEXBUG Warrior Battling Robots Single packs available for fans to collect. Each Single pack includes 1 fully-armored Warrior. MSRP is $7.99 and the product is CPSIA approved for kids ages 6 and up.
  • HEXBUG Warriors Battle Arena – The battle arena is the perfect stage for HEXBUG Warriors students to hone their skills.  It comes with two HEXBUG Warriors with weapons and armor, two expandable battle arena pieces (compatible with Battle Stadium), three standoffs and extra bonus armor. There are four assorted HEXBUG Warrior Battle Arenas available for fans to collect.  Each features a different opposing pair of Warriors. MSRP is $19.99 and the product is CPSIA approved for kids ages 6 and up.
  • HEXBUG Warriors Battle Stadium – The ultimate large scale battleground for all HEXBUG Warriors students comes with two fully-armored collectible HEXBUG Warriors, eight Battle Stadium Pieces (compatible with Battle Arena) and 12 standoffs. There are two assorted HEXBUG Warrior Battle Stadiums available for fans to collect. Each features a different opposing pair of Warriors. MSRP is $29.99 and the product is CPSIA approved for kids ages 6 and up.

For more information on their fierce futuristic rivalry, visit www.hexbug.com/warriors.

PR Contact:

Esther Rawlings, Cohn & Wolfe; Esther.Rawlings@cohnwolfe.com; 310-967-2953

About HEXBUG and Innovation First:

HEXBUG® is a product line developed by Innovation First Inc., and distributed and marketed by Innovation First Labs, Inc., both wholly owned subsidiaries of privately held Innovation First International, Inc.  The company was founded on the belief that innovation very early in the design process is necessary to produce simple and elegant product designs. Innovation First began developing electronics for unmanned mobile ground robots and is now an industry leader in research and development for the hobby, competition, education and toy markets.

Innovation First International’s three main subsidiaries, VEX Robotics, Inc., Innovation First Labs, Inc. (makers of HEXBUG® Micro Robotic Creatures), and RackSolutions, Inc. span the education, consumer and business-to-business markets. The VEX® Robotics Design System is the leading platform for middle school and high school education and competitive robotics. Leveraging the company’s core competency in electrical and mechanical engineering, the RackSolutions® division works closely with all major computer OEMs to provide custom mounting solutions and industry-wide rack compatibility for data installations of all sizes.

In 2009 the company added offices in Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom to better serve the global marketplace. This network was expanded to Canada in 2010 with the addition of an office, warehouse and distribution center located in Toronto. With an advanced in-house metal fabrication plant, distribution center and corporate office located together in a 13-acre complex in Greenville, Texas, the company is poised to continue on a rapid growth path. Please visit www.innovationfirst.com for additional information.

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Missing Sleep – HEXBUG Review

August 1st, 2012

UK mom blogger and her two adorable sons share their thought on the HEXBUG Larva and HEXBUG Scarab.

My boys love bugs but I am not ready to share my house with an assortment of pet woodlice and worms, so the next best thing is building on their HEXBUG collection.
My boys already have the small Nano bugs and they have been played with extensively since Christmas 2011, but I did not know until the Christmas in July event that they exist in bigger very sophisticated versions!

Really Missing Sleep Puts HEXBUG to the Test!

Read the full review at: Really Missing Sleep.