Remote-controlled playthings are back in a big way - with advanced infrared heightening the thrills FOR MOST ADULTS, the toys in shops these days look nothing like the toys they played with when they were young. In this fast-changing world, toy trends evolve swiftly. One important trend is the revival of remote-controlled toys. While they have been around for a long time, technological developments have given more flexibility to their design. Happy Kid Toy Group, a local 20-year-old toy manufacturer, has extensive experience in remote-controlled toys. 'Now, like in the past, we still use radio frequency and infrared transmission for these remote-controlled toys, but infrared technology has improved significantly,' said Happy Kid founder Simon Wong. Infrared technology is also now cheaper to manufacture. 'With radio technology we have to do different tests on toys for different countries because each has its own standard. But if we use infrared, we only need to test [the toy] once,' Mr Wong said. With the money saved on testing, companies can put more resources into developing infrared technology further. Mr Wong said infrared transmission was relatively stable and had a range of five metres. 'You no longer need to point your remote directly at the infrared port on the toy because infrared beams can be refracted through 30 degrees wherever there is light,' he said. Designs are also more innovative. Among Happy Kid's latest offerings is Battle Zone, a pair of robots that can box each other via remote control. The robots have facial expressions when they hit their opponent and when they are hit back. Also making a comeback this year are role-playing toys. To test the acceptance in the market, Happy Kid has designed a ninja spies dress-up set for boys. 'Kids these days like to move around a lot more,' Mr Wong said, adding that role-playing toys had always been popular but manufacturers needed to think of ways to make them more interesting and interactive to keep them popular. Role-play toys are no longer just outfits and plastic weapons. Happy Kid has created a range of products including outfits and multifunctional weapons for boys. These include a sword that can turn into a gun and has a range of sound effects. Mr Wong said the key to role-playing toys was to make them more fun and realistic.