Friday, January 13, 2006

The New Furby

For Christmas, I bought the New Furby which was released in France at the end of the year. It is an advanced toy considering its technology and its relatively low price (near 50€ in France and less than 40$ in the US). The Furby looks like an armless Greemlins Mogwai with a beak. Evidence is that the New Furby cannot be considered as a living creature. However what is the opinion of my expert (Lara, 5 years old):
- Is Furby living ?
- Of course yes !
- Why ?
- Because it moves and it speaks to me...
Ok, well done Tiger (Furby is a product of Hasbro Inc.'s Tiger Electronic division). The New Furby is powered by the Sensory Inc's RSC-4128 ship which is a multi-purpose (14 Mhz max) microprocessor: voice recognition, text-to-speach, various input-output sensors and actuators, DTMF output, etc. Its documentation is easily accessible on the Web, but there is no information on the operating software called "Emoto-tronics" designed for the Furby. Even if the New Furby is a successfull toy, it lacks in many points from my point of view: (1) It reacts slowly to most events (probably needs a more powerful CPU and/or realtime programming). (2) It always repeats the same behaviors (needs more randomness/a larger set of behaviors). (3) The efficiency of learning is not so clear.... Some people like Benjamin Stove (blog at eecue.com) are working on "hacking" the New Furby. I think it could be very interesting to be able to reprogram this amazing toy using for example a subsumption architecture, genetic programming, etc. Avis aux amateurs...

4 comments:

Danny said...

Hi, just out of curiousity, who is Benjamin Stove?

Myeerah said...

Hey, yeah, who's Benjamin Stove and how is he working on hacking Furby? Thanks

jcheudin said...

Ok. I don't know him personnally but you can read his blog on eecue.com. The post on Hacking the New Furby explains everything.

rastronomicals said...

No, the guy who runs eecue is Dave Bullock. That's who you meant and not Ben Stove?