In the final days of the 20th century, office cubicles and children's playrooms around the world were beset by an invasion of the cuddliest kind. Furby, the robot hamster-owl thing that ate, slept, sang, danced, talked in its own language and, eventually, learned English. Boy, did it talk! Retailing for $35, first year sales of the mechanical little chatterbox saw second-hand prices spike to $300 as Furby became the must have toy for Christmas.
Now they’re back! And ‘better’ than ever. Sporting new emotive LCD eyes, adaptable personalities, and companion apps, Hasbro is looking to reignite 1998’s Furby Fever all over again. Is the world ready to revive the robot rodent? Prices on the new 2012 model of Furby have already risen from $55 to $75 on Amazon.
We dedicate this Weekend Watchlist to those cuddly, cute, entertainingly inane robots of past and present, the Furbies.
In with the new and out with the old! Here’s Hasbro’s official product reveal for the 2012 Furby.
So, if one Furby is that much fun, how much fun is four? Engadget goes hands-on with a whole pack of the babble ‘bots!
So that’s where were going, but where did we come from. Let’s travel back 14 years and take a look at the world’s first glimpse at the platoon leaders of the upcoming robot revolution with 1998’s Furby commercial.
I know what you’re thinking: “Being a robot, does Furby have any better luck with Siri than I do?” Wow, what a bizarre question! You’re even stranger than I am. Short answer: No. Long answer: This video.
Okay, but that was the old Furby. Surely the new model has some affinity for Apple’s snarky personal assistant. The answer will neither shock nor amaze.
Being a cheap, easily available (at least some times of the year) toy robot, Furby has gathered quite the following in the hacker community. The most popular Furby mod is the circuit bend, where controls are added to change the pitch and speed of Furby’s voice. Julie Watai shows us how to circuit bend you Furby with a little cosplay and a lot of Furby disassembly.
Following this idea to it’s most insane conclusion, TheNervousSquirrel created this circuit bent Furby choir, giving birth the the next trend in music, Furbstep.
Does Furby look a little… familiar to anyone? There something… Jedi Master-ish about it. Apparently Tiger Electronics, makers of the original Furby, thought so too. The same basic core device that powers Furby was repurposed to bring everyone’s second favorite green Muppet to life.
Finally, we close with one of the strangest videos I’ve ever seen. And I’ve… seen things… you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments… lost in time... like… Furby in the microwave... Time to die.