In Playland, Secrets 'R Us

Playland, Secrets 'R Us

What makes the interactive toys tick? That is top-secret information these days. Manufacturers have shrouded their new toys in a haze of high-tech mystery, partly to preserve the sense of wonder about the devices, but also to prevent rivals from making knockoffs. While the technology is nothing that will tip the balance between superpowers, each toy company has developed a creative scheme for linking the toys with TV shows via light beams or audio signals.

Toy-industry experts believe that Mattel's Captain Power toys are based on optical technology. The Captain Power show is apparently programmed with light patterns that can be...

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