Rideamals Scout is an amazing new toy from Kid Trax. This adorable and incredibly life-like pony combines battery-powered ride-on toy fun with real interactive play, thanks to fully motorized eyes, ears, head, and wheels. Kids can hear munching noises as they feed Scout a tasty treat, watch the pony’s ears move as they brush its mane, take Scout for a walk, and, of course, ride Scout!
Children can go for a musical pony ride with two forward speed settings and one reverse speed; Scout can travel at up to four miles an hour while country-melody songs or pony sounds play in the background. Scout comes with a grooming brush, carrot, apple and saddlebag. Scout also comes with a rechargeable 12-volt battery and charger and is easy to recharge with the One Step Direct Connect charging system. Rideamals Barn Play Tent and Pony Show Accessory Kit sold separately. With over 100 unique sounds and movements, including a special dance, Scout will create magical memories for your family.
Scout is infused with dozens of touch sensors that alert him to when he is being pet or hugged. When you touch his nose, cheeks, mouth, of ears he will respond accordingly. If you pull the reins in front of Scout’s head and press the button you will get him to trot along behind you. If you press the horseshoe button, Scout will prance with you if you’re standing in front of him.
Kid Trax is an award-winning battery-powered ride-on brand of Dorel Industries. They have a well-earned excellent reputation, but Scout is truly a step up. This pony brings every kid’s dream of owning a pony to life with an adorable pet friend kids can ride, interact with, groom, feed and care for. Though merely a 12-volt interactive machine, Scout has a personality that makes it easy to fall in love with him. His wide range of sounds and movements allow kids to play with him just like they would a real pony! With touch sensors, fully motorized eyes, ears, head and wheels, and lifelike pony sounds, Scout brings the pet play experience to life in magical ways as it responds to a child’s touch. With two forward speed settings and one reverse speed, Scout can travel up to four miles an hour – all while songs or pony sounds play in the background. Kids will love to experience the magic of Scout coming to life, just like a real pony.
In addition to riding Scout, kids can enjoy plenty of nurturing play with their new friend. They can lead Scout around for a walk using the reins or groom and feed Scout using the included brush, carrot and apple, all packed in a coordinating bag that attaches to the saddle.
Recently Senior Director of Product Development Terry Cyr discussed the development of Scout and the excitement of seeing this toy out in the market.
Meagan Meehan (MM): KidTrax has been creating quality ride-ons for years. How did you get involved with the company?
Terry Cyr (TC): I joined the company five years ago when they were looking for someone to lead their Product Development (Industrial Design) team. Kid Trax was a big reason why I was interested in joining the company. I’ve been designing toys for about twenty years and I was excited to have the opportunity to work on quality ride-ons.
MM: Scout the Horse is a truly stunning invention that marries ride-on concepts with cutting-edge animatronic technology. When did you first get the idea for Scout and why did you settle on a horse design?
TC: I got the idea for Scout a while back, in the Fall of 2015. There were several small animatronic toys hitting the market at that time that were very popular, so I thought it would be cool to make a larger version of them that a kid could ride. The reason for a horse is that it makes sense with the larger scale because it’s a larger animal, it’s an animal that’s regularly ridden, it appeals to both boys and girls, and many kids would love to have one as a pet but can’t have one for obvious reasons. This ride-on gives every kid the chance to own a pony!
MM: Scout is incredibly advanced and features many moving parts and sensors that make it incredibly life-like. How long did it take to design Scout and how different did the prototype look from the final item?
TC: It took almost two years to fully develop Scout. We did several rounds of designs (sketches and rendering attached) which didn’t vary too much, but the first prototype looked very different because it was a “proof of concept breadboard” without all the plastic parts. It was nicknamed “Buck” and attached is a picture of it. The final design was based off of Buck so the subsequent prototypes all look very similar to Scout. The slide show includes some images of the early CAD and the very first painted prototype, which was a little more cartoony than the final version.
MM: What were the major challenges of creating this item and how do you envision animatronic technology evolving in the near future?
TC: One of the biggest challenges was making everything work without needing to press buttons or flip switches to access different features and functions. For example, there’s a switch under the saddle that detects when a child is sitting on it. Only when this switch is depressed will you be able to ride Scout. If this switch isn’t depressed you can feed him, pet him, and brush him, but he won’t move forward even if you press the throttle button. The child doesn’t really know this is happening. He/she just knows that when they sit on the pony, they can ride him, which seems very natural and makes Scout feel more real.
As far as where animatronics are going, I think we’re just going to see more and more sensors, switches, and even micro cameras embedded in these types of toys in the future that will make them seem even smarter and more real. I think they will also be connected to Smart phones so you can update them and interact with them in a virtual world.
MM: What kinds of responses have you gotten from people who have seen Scout?
TC: Most people are amazed at how real Scout seems when they first see and interact with him, which is pretty cool.
MM: What do you find most impressive about this delightful horse?
TC: I think what’s most impressive is the way he’s constantly moving to make him feel more alive. We programmed him to always move back and forth a little (to shimmy) even when no one is playing with him, to constantly move his head up, down, left and right, to blink his eyes, move his ears, etc. Without this constant movements he would seem very stiff and not alive. It took a long time to get this right and to make it look natural, but I think it turned out very well in the end.
MM: Might you create other models like Scout which expertly blend ride-on principles with animatronic technology? If so, which animals might you release next?
TC: Yes, we’re currently developing several more toys, although I can’t tell you which ones at the moment!
MM: Overall, what are your biggest goals for the future of your career as a toy designer?
TC: My goal is to continue to develop more innovative products like Scout that aren’t too expensive and for the average person. Pacific Cycle is great for this because we sell many products to stores like Walmart and Target, which means we put many smiles on kid’s faces. There’s nothing better than seeing a young child giggle and laugh when playing with a product that you helped create!
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Kid Trax Rideamals Scout ride-on toy is designed for kids ages 3 to 7 and available at Walmart for a suggested retail price of $398. For more information about Kid Trax Rideamals Scout and the Kid Trax brand, visit www.rideamals.com and follow Kid Trax on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
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