Furby

electronic robotic toy

A Furby (plural Furbys or Furbies, according to Tiger Electronics.) is a popular electronic toy or robot, more specifically, a hamster/owl-like creature made by Tiger Electronics, which went through a time of being the "must-have" toy following its launch in the winter holiday season of 1998, with continuing sales until 2000. Furbies sold 1.8 million units in 1998, 14 million units in 1999, and altogether in its three years of original production, Furby sold over 40 million units, and its speaking capabilities were translated into 24 languages. A video game of the Furbies was released in 1998 by Hasbro Interactive with many activities. Furbies were the first successful attempt to produce and sell a programmed robot. In 2005, new Furbies were released, with voice-recognition and more complex facial movements, among many other changes and improvements. There was a common mistake that they repeated words that were said around them. This belief most likely came from the fact that it is possible to have the Furby say certain pre-programmed words or phrases more often by petting it whenever it said these words. As a result of this myth, several intelligence agencies banned them from their offices.[1]

HistoryEdit

Birth of the FurbyEdit

David Hampton and Caleb Chung created the Furby in about nine months (in addition to an additional nine months spent designing the toy). That was the amount of time between Tiger Electronics showing an interest in his interactive creatures, during which Roger Schiffman bought the rights to it, and the time they hit store shelves. Furby's first public appearance was at the International Toy Fair in 1998. Furbys originally retailed for about US$35,[2] and upon release Furbys flew off the shelves in toyshops. The demand for these toys during the 1998 holiday season drove the resale price over US$100 and sometimes as high as several hundred dollars. Furbies sold for over US$300 in newspapers and in auctions. Nicknames were given to them, and sellers gave values to them. Some people continue to call their Furbies by the terms 'wedding Furby', 'tuxedo Furby', 'snowball Furby', 'biker Furby', and others. All, of course, were named rare by sellers, because they were so hard to find at the time. In a sure display of the demand for even one Furby, some sellers at the time scammed people out of a lot of money, without even having first given them a Furby. Parent battles, arguments, and fights grew higher at the popularity of them, and when retail supplies ran out, parents turned to the Internet, where Furbies could be purchased for two, three, or more multiples of their retail price. This action led to many parents ending up on eBay.

2005 revivalEdit

In 2005 Furbies were re-introduced with the release of the new Emoto-Tronic Furby. The highly growing emotional realism of the Emoto-Tronic Furby has given birth to a number of Furby-like special interest groups. These communities want to bring features of the Furby experience into human society. The most visible of these groups include Furbish-to-English translators and Furby adoption agencies.

2012 revivalEdit

On April 12, 2012, it was announced that Hasbro would be making a new line of Furbies. The new line was released in September 2012.[3] As of December 2012 there were sixteen colors: Teal, white, black, purple, tangerine-tango, yellow, aqua, navy blue, plum, pink, pink/teal, orange/blue, black/pink, blue/yellow, teal/purple, and gray/teal.[4] Furbies were one of the eleven toys named the top toys for Christmas 2013 by the Toy Retailers Association at the DreamToys Convention where they unveil their predictions for the most popular holiday toys annually.[5]

Furby typesEdit

Classic FurbiesEdit

The original Furbies were 6 inches (15 cm) tall. The main reason for their popularity was because of their apparent "intelligence", reflected in their ability to develop language skills. Furbies can communicate with one another via an infrared port located between their eyes. A simple electric motor and a system of cameras and gears close the Furby's eyes and mouth, raise its ears, and lift it off the ground in a faux display of mobility. The originals are still popular with many hackers as they can be dissected and made or changed to do other interesting things, including being able to say something insulting or humorous, like Shut up. In particular, they can made be to do things with their advanced audio capabilities and various sensory interfaces. [6][7]

Other FurbiesEdit

Furby BabiesEdit

In 1999, the Furby Babies line was introduced. Furby Babies are smaller than the original, have higher voices, and cannot dance, but switch to speaking English more quickly. They also have bigger vocabulary, and different "Easter Eggs" and "games" built into them. Baby furbies come in 24 different colors. All with white eye lashes, six different eyecolors.

Furby FriendsEdit

Book Furbies were also released, including an interactive Furby-like Gizmo, from the movie Gremlins, a Furby-like Interactive Yoda based on the Star Wars character, and a Furby-like Interactive E.T. from the movie of the same name. Another 'friend of furby', called Shelby, is similar to Furby, but looks like a clam, has lots of improvement in memory, and has a different personality; it was released in 2001 and can communicate with the original Furbies and Furby Babies. They also have sensors that can sense loud sounds, they can sense being upside down (they say things like "Shiver me timbers" and "Walk the plank", in the style of a pirate ship captain, when you leave them upside-down for a long period of time), and they laugh when you "tickle" them (their antennae - or "tennies", as they like to call them). They also purr when you "pet" them. You can feed them by sticking your finger in their mouth. Similarly, Shelbys do not have their own names, unlike the classic Furbies. Shelbys are also capable of knowing if it is talking to a Furby or another Shelby, saying phrases such as "Where's Furby?" - though they cannot tell the difference between a Furby and a Furby Baby - they just think it's a Furby. In addition to English, Shelbys also know some Furbish words and also have their own language called "Shelbish."

 some Holiday furbies are limited edition, they were made in 2001

Emoto-Tronic FurbyEdit

The latest kinds of Furby were released in August 2005. Larger than the other ones, the new Furbies have been upgraded with a more emotional face and a voice recognition system, letting them communicate with humans. Unlike the Furbies originally released, just one order is necessary to make them 'sleep', and they have an off switch. They can communicate with other types of Emoto-tronic Furbies, though to a smaller amont than the communication between original Furbies, and they cannot themselves communicate with the original Furbies. They also do not have light sensors and basic motion sensors. These Furbies, according to the story they come packed with, are from Furby Island.

Emoto-Tronic Furby BabiesEdit

In 2006, a new version of Furby baby was released, with most notable features being the new look and a more "Baby-ish" appearance in contrast to the Emoto-Tronic Furby adult. They also have considerably less features than the "adult" Furby, with a very limited vocabulary and a lower level of interactivity. Another notable feature of the 2006 Emoto-Tronic Baby Furby is the movable "legs", which unfurl when Furby baby is awakened.

Emoto-Tronic Funky FurbiesEdit

The Funky Furbies were released in August 2006 outside the United States. They are limited to three color combinations (pink and yellow; purple and green; blue and purple), they can sing three new songs and dance. They can be taught dance routines and remember them.

2012 FurbiesEdit

A new Furby was released in the fall of 2012. It has more expressive LCD eyes, a wider range of motions, its own iOS and Android app, and the ability to adapt its personality in reaction to user behavior.[8] The on-off switch is replaced with a reset button; the Furby turns itself off after one minute of inactivity.

Furby Party RockersEdit

A series of toys called Furby Party Rockers was released in addition to the 2012 Furbies.[9]

Those feature pre-programmed personalities that differ between the various models.

Instead of the screens that the full-size Furbies feature, their eyes are made out of transparent plastic with a backing that has a static pattern printed.

The eyes have an LED backlight and the printed image is stereoscopic so that it changes depending on the viewing angle. The Party Rockers don't have any moving parts.

Furby BoomEdit

In summer of 2013, about a year after the 2012 Furby came out, a new Furby was released with new different colors and new Personalities. It has a brand-new iOS and Android app, called Furby BOOM!, with many new features.[10][11]

Furblings (toy version)Edit

In June 2014, a toy version of the Furblings from the Furby BOOM! app was released along with a Golden limited time one.[source?] It can communicate with Furby Booms, and can be used with the app too.

Furby Boom CrystalEdit

The release for Christmas 2014 is called the Furby Boom Crystal series, with a redesign of the ears, face and feet and new bright neon fur. The iOS and Android apps have also been redesigned.[12]

Furby Boom Crystal FurblingsEdit

In early 2015, a toy version of the Furby Boom Crystal Furblings from the app was released. Like the other Furblings, it can communicate with Furby Boom Crystals, and be used with the app.

FurbaccaEdit

In June 2015, a Furby that resembles Chewbacca from Star Wars was released. It is similar to the Furby Boom because it can hatch Furblings with the same app and more. It is known as the Wookie Furby and the new Furby Friend.

Furby ConnectEdit

In 2016 another new Furby with more expressive eyes and movements was released, along with an app containing a whole world of Furblings for it to interact with. The Furby Connect has a translucent plastic joystick on its head which lights up different colors when toggled and is used to control games played with Furblings in the app. Unlike the 2012 Furby and Furby Boom, the Furby Connect does not change personalities. However it can sing songs that it "learns" from the app.

Furbish-English dictionaryEdit

Furbish is the language which is spoken by the Furbies. It is similar to English with a different grammar structure. A newly bought Furby starts out speaking entirely Furbish, the unique language with short words, simple syllables, and various other sounds, that all Furbies use, but are programmed to speak less Furbish as they learn more English as they "grow". Throughout a Furby's lifetime, it gradually learns English words and phrases, which it begins to speak in place of Furbish. The more English they learn, the more they "grow", making them more muture. The Furbish phrase "WHOA! Me deep sleep!" would translate into English as "Whoa! I slept for a long time!"

These are common Furbish pharses.

  • wee-tah-kah-loo-loo: Tell me a joke
  • wee-tah-kah-wee-loo: Tell me a story
  • wee-tee-kah-wah-tee: Sing me a song
  • u-nye-loo-lay-doo?: Do you want to play?
  • u-nye-ay-tay-doo?: Are you hungry?
  • u-nye-boh-doo?: How are you?
  • u-nye-way-loh-nee-way: Go to sleep now
  • u-nye-noh-lah: Show me a dance

Furbies may say these Furbish words:

  • doo?: What? (Furbies say this when called)
  • doo-dah: Yes (Furbies say this in response to a command before doing it)
  • boo: No (Furbies say this when they do not want to carry out a command)
  • yoo?: Why will you not play with me today? (This usually means the Furby is upset)

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Furby a threat to national security?". CNN. 1999-01-13. Archived from the original on 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
  2. "New toy an interactive fur ball". CNN. 1998-10-05. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  3. "Furby's Coming Back! Five Things to Know About This Iconic Toy". E! Online. 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  4. Hasbro, Electronics. "Furby". Yes. Hasbro. Retrieved 9 December 2012.[permanent dead link]
  5. "Top Toys for Christmas 2013".
  6. Circuit-bent Furby at YouTube
  7. Kevin Rees. "Furby Bending Tutorial". Circuit-Bent.Net. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  8. 10/26/12 12:00pm 8/24/12 12:00pm. "2012 Furby Review". Laptopmag.com. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  9. "Furby Party Rockers". Furby Party Rockers. Archived from the original on 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  10. "Furby Boom". PCMAG.
  11. "Furby that interacts with iPads is among 'must-have' Christmas toys". Telegraph.co.uk. 30 October 2014. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12.
  12. "Furby Boom Crystal Series Review". Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.

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