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Toys

Furby Bounty Paid 85

donpardo writes "The Furby has been successfully hacked and the money has been paid. (Here is the original /. story.) By Xmas a modified Furby should be on the way to the autistic child who inspired this. Kits are on the way."
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Furby Bounty Paid

Comments Filter:
  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @11:34AM (#603002) Homepage Journal
    that if you make it hard to hack, the hackers will try harder. Then when they succeed they will exact revenge in the worst possible way.

    I'm reasonably confident that the "potty mouth Furby" the original designer envisioned would have been created straight away without the hackproofing, but would not have received the wide coverage that this contest is sure to garner.

    --
  • "Hampton wanted to prevent owners from creating "potty-mouth Furby" and Tiger Electronics (the Furby distributor) wanted to frustrate competitors from copying the design. As a result, the cpu and memory of each Furby are encased in a tough shell of resin. There is no practical way to break through to examine the electronics without shattering them in the process."

    It would seem unlikely that they made the code available after going that far to make the thing unhackable.

  • Insert beowulf cluster of web-furbies comment here.
  • Hack Furby Challenge Won!

    LOS ALTOS, Calif., Nov 13 2000. The "Hack Furby" Challenge has been won.

    Furby [TM Tiger Electronics] was the smash hit toy of Christmas 1998 and after. Furby is a small furry doll with an electro-mechanical interior that lets it run through a pre-programmed repertoire of speech and movement. Furbies gradually let out more speech and
    actions the more you handle them, creating a powerful illusion that they learn. In fact the customer has no ability to make a Furby act
    in a way different to the way it was programmed at the factory. Up till now...

    The Hack Furby Challenge

    In January 1999, Silicon Valley-based engineer Peter van der Linden issued a challenge to the computer engineering world through his
    website http://www.afu.com "Make Furby re-programmable!" Author of several books on computer programming, including the best-selling
    Just Java 2, van der Linden explained his challenge thus: "Being an inveterate gadget lover and tinkerer, I bought one of the first Furbies
    available and dismantled it.

    The potential for Furby to become a general purpose computing device was immediately obvious. The thing already has a CPU and is
    bristling with peripherals including infrared I/O, several motion detectors, eye and mouth movements, a loudspeaker and a microphone. All it
    needed was a little encouragement from me to get a great set of Open Source community engineers working on it." If Furby could be
    re-programmed by its users, it would become a much more interesting and educational device. Instead of listening to your Furby talk
    "Furbish", you could play chess with it. Instead of pressing your Furby's beak, you could have it announce your email or calendar
    appointments. You can have Furby record voice memos or phone calls for later replay. You can program Furby to solve mathematical
    puzzles and equations, to look for Mersenne prime numbers, or simply to act as a speaking clock. Rework the mouth servo with hydraulics to
    open beer cans, have the only speaking garden gnome on the block. Heck, it doesn't really matter, the point is to create individual
    conceptual art from mass-produced ephemera.

    Furby designer Dave Hampton strongly opposed allowing sophisticated users to customize the device. Hampton had seen earlier toys like Microsoft's "Barney the Talking Dinosaur"
    product subverted by graduate students, who put colorful expletives into the mouth of the purple behemoth. The Redmond monopoly provided the software for the talking Barney toy.

    Tough Work

    Hampton wanted to prevent owners from creating "potty-mouth Furby" and Tiger Electronics (the Furby distributor) wanted to frustrate competitors from copying the design. As a
    result, the cpu and memory of each Furby are encased in a tough shell of resin. There is no practical way to break through to examine the electronics without shattering them in the
    process. Furby hacking contrasts with the Lego Mindstorms toy, which embraced and co-opted the freelance development community, selling a lot more product in the process. The
    active opposition of designer and manufacturer made Furby hacking significantly harder. But the development community views Furby's lack of programmability as a design flaw or
    bug, and all bugs (no matter how tough) yield in the end.

    "I knew it would be quite difficult to crack Furby security and create a user-programmable version of Furby, so I offered a cash prize as an incentive to try" said van der Linden. Prizes
    of this kind were often staked by industrialists in the early days of aviation, to encourage new designs and faster progress.

    And The Winner Is...!

    The prize of two hundred and fifty dollars was won by Canadian computer consultant Jeffrey Gibbons, who submitted the winning prototype by Fedex. The design is being published
    to the public under the terms of the competition, and orders are being taken for a "Hack Furby" kit over the Internet.

    "The cash prize is just a token," explained van der Linden, "The real prize is the bragging rights to the accomplishment, and the benefit of sharing it with the world. Computer Science
    departments can now base their real-time programming courses on this very low-cost equipment."

    One of the first re-programmed Furbies will be sent to the mother who contacted van der Linden early in the challenge. She noticed the speech of her autistic son improved greatly
    when interacting with the Furby. But she was despondent about the gibberish that the standard Furby talks. That mother was anxious to find a Furby that could be upgraded with
    normal speech, to help autistic children relate to the the real world. Her son's Furby will now be delivered in time for Christmas, thanks to the "Hack Furby Challenge" (subject to kit
    production). Parents of autistic children everywhere will value the chance to transform Furby from a trivial amusement into an educational aid.

    A Challenge For Software Folks

    There is always a higher mountain to climb, and van der Linden plans to issue a new challenge. "Now that the original problem has been solved, I plan
    to stake a new prize for the first person to port a Java Virtual Machine to this architecture. The Java 2 Micro Edition is wonderfully suitable for driving
    the embedded Furby processor, at the same time allowing programmers to write high-level portable code." The first Furby challenge was for hardware
    folks; this new challenge allows software experts to show their skills.

    A Java virtual machine has already been ported to the Lego Mindstorms computer. TinyVM is an open source JavaTM based replacement firmware
    for the Lego MindstormsTM RCX microcontroller. The RCX is a programmable brick that comes with Lego's Robotics Invention SystemTM. For further
    details on the Java/Lego system see http://lejos.sourceforge.net/. If Java can run on a Lego block, it can definitely run on a Furby.

    What of the original prototype, the world's first user-programmable Furby? "It's standing on my kitchen table right now, being eyed warily by my dogs"
    laughs van der Linden, "I think I'll offer it to the Smithsonian in due course".

  • by John Murdoch ( 102085 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @11:57AM (#603006) Homepage Journal

    Help!

    I can't find any reference to the story mentioned by CmdrTaco about the Furby challenge being inspired by the mother of an autistic boy. I would dearly love to learn more about this--I work with a couple of children with autism in an Easter Seals program, and the son of some friends has autism. All three sets of parents have the same limitation: zero programming skills.

    Can anyone provide a link (or just point in the right direction) to more information about the boy with autism?

    Thanks!

  • Yes, it is a hack.

    What you have to remember is that not all hacks are related to software.

    This is a hardware hack, just like taking an old Amiga 1200 and making it into a portable computer system. [lysator.liu.se]

    Please don't be so narrowminded as to assume that hacking requires that you code. Hacking merely requires that you do something that transcends ordinary thinking... Like Al Gore hacking the Florida election process...

  • Ok - who's going to build some clustering software using IR comm's...?
  • I was just shifting through the junk flyers
    in my snail mail. Toy R Us are selling the Furry
    little buggers for $10 Canadian - that about
    $6.70 US dollars. Talk about cheap.

    Something else that is floating around on my
    work bench is a Furby chariot. Two servo wheels and some Ir object sensors controlled via the
    RS-232 3.5mm jack on the back off the Furby's head.

    ....but right now I'm spending my spare time keeping up with orders for the upgrade kit and keeping FurbOS 0.1 development on track.

  • Here is the site of the winners which details the hack along with allowing for the purchase of a kit to do it yourself.

    http://www.furbyupgrade.20m.com

    The kits can be purchased for $65 from the following site.

    http://canada-shops.com/stores/furbyupgrade/

    Hope this helps.

  • I agree with you - not everybody is a assembly code wizzard.

    We're working on releasing FurbOS 0.1 in the next little while. It's sort of extended power-on self test code - think of it as libc for a Hurby ( Hacked Furby).

    Thinking long term, Andy and I want to get a simple interpreter running on the processor - something like Logo-language - very very simple. That way Joe guy can make it do something without too much software suffering. We'll see....

  • If they could hack it to have more ram (40-pin, anyone?), even if it meant ram sockets sticking out that back, I'd run SET@Home on the Furby...have it just sit there, then when done, save contents to ROM or upload to a data file on host computer, then fetch another and go back to work...Finally, putting the little thing to some good use! Maybe hack another to run distributed.net...or...dare I say it...a beowulf cluster of Furbies! God help us all. JKoebel
  • Come on, how old were you?

    From the post:

    (1990) = 14 years old, gets diagnosed
    1984 = 9 years old, gets computer
    (2000) = (24 years old)

    math ?

  • (1) Make damnned sure you hold onto everything that came with your Furby...

    (2) Perform the hack...

    (3) Reprogram your Furby to randomly spout a wav file of George Carlin's "7 Forbidden Words" routine every 5 minutes or so...

    (4) Repackage the Furby in the original packaging, make sure it's as close to it's original appearance as possible, and...

    (5) Sneak the repackaged Furby into the nearest toy store where you originally purchased it (use another branch to make sure nobody recognizes you), under your coat... Put the Furby on the shelf with the others, and leave...

    (6) Wait for the inevitable news freakouts which will follow...

    Does anyone here remember one of the big foulups with early voicechipped dolls, where they had one doll that was programmed for Spanish, and fell into the possession of a WASP housewife? She insisted the doll was saying "Kill Mommy!", as opposed to the doll's actual statement of "Quiero Mami" (sp?), or "I Love Mommy!"...

    Considering Tiger Toys' reputation for using Chinese sweatshops to produce their toys (and occasionally prisoner labor), it would be nice to see them take a hit to the pocketbook...;)
  • Have you gutted it yet? Maybe the sounds will be on something easy like a PROM. Too bad they didn't just make it so it would accept microcassettes from answering machines. Then again, if there is space in there, maybe you could bypass the stock sound by splicing the speaker wires to the guts of an answering machine, with a switch triggered whenever he moves.

  • That would be "Sweet Dreams" that Marilyn Manson covered from the Eurythmics, not "Cake and Sodomy"
  • Considering the similarities I always wondered why they never had legal problems with the 'look and feel' of a gremlin being so close.

    Nitpick - furbies look like MOGWI, the cute furry form that turns into gremlins. But yeah, aside from the beaked nose, they're pretty identical. I think even the talking sound is similar.

    I have some vestigial memory of asking someone about the mogwi connection, but don't remember what the response was. There had to be some crankyness over it somewhere.

    -Kahuna Burger

  • I saw the word "borrowed" & not "stole." are you illiterate? Or do you have ASS-umption Disorder by ASS-uming that an employer would not be benevolent enough to help a parent of a kid w/ special needs and abilities?
    BTW, I have Asperger's, too. There are actually several of us "aspies" in the computer industry. Just for the record, we may not be long on social skills, but we're certainly not short on brains-- our IQ is generally well above average.
  • oops... this is not webmoth. This is webmoth's brainy Aspie sister, who just had a major brain fart & didn't post anonymously (b/c I have no personal ID as of yet). LOL Don't blame this on Webmoth, please, who is actually a high-functioning neurotypical. ;-)
  • I don't remember who, but some prankster outfit bought a bunch of talking Barbies and talking GI Joes and performed bit of creative surgery: swapped the phrase disks then returned them to the store.

    So suddenly GI Joe says "I think math is hard!" and "Let's go shopping!" while Barbie talks about killing people.

    Now wouldn't that be a cool one to have!

    --
  • Or 'Cake and sodomy', the Marilyn Manson song

  • My point was that people should not be raving about the power of the furby micro.
  • Ok, then how would you say "meat puppets"?

  • Actually tiger did have a legal problem with the furbies..

    After the furby released there was a lawsuit relating to teh similarities between the Gremlins Mogwai and the furby

    Tiger/Hasbro lost/settled, and I assume that the new Gremlin release was part of the deal..

  • http://wy1d.yi.org/~josh/furby.html
    (grabbed it right as the clock striked midnight, not enough time to grab images though)
  • Here [warnerve.net] is another mirror of the original slashdot link and here [warnerve.net] is the Furby[tm] Programmers Guide sent to me by the author of the afu site.
    ---
    Fred Ackermann
    e-mail: fred@warnerve.net
    homepage: www.warnerve.net
    mobile: 0402 293 572
  • by suss ( 158993 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @11:35AM (#603027)
    500 Server Error
    The hard transfer limit for this user has been reached

    The story's been up for 20 minutes and their server's been slashdotted already. Maybe their should add an extra potato or something...
  • Now if only we can hack the Sony Pet and Aibo.
  • What will be the FUNNIEST thing you could make a Furby say?

    I'll kick things off here:

    "Timmy, do you like Gladiator movies?"


    "A microprocessor... is a terrible thing to waste." --

  • Billy Big Mouth Bass! Yes, that God-awful singing fish, somebody hack THAT to play something else. THAT would be cool.
  • Does anyone have a mirror for this site? (BTW, I wonder if this could be considered a DDoS attack . . .)
  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @11:47PM (#603032) Homepage
    It's been done. [uci.edu] At XEROX Parc no less.

    The could get it make arbitrary movements and speak at arbitrary times. They now how the speech is encoded, but not the specifics. (As they said, "It was outside the scope of the project. Plus it ensures that Barney is constantly in character.")

  • ...is so simple: just remove the batteries
  • Not as far fetched as you would think. The guy who did this hack's website [20m.com] says that something along those lines is in store for the next revision of the software. Personally, I'd love to find the original voice-over person/program, and use that to create my own psycho-furby.

    Though know they won't develop sentience (can you imagine the horror of that), the furbys will becoe an interesting geek toy, with such coolosities as mp3 playing and small dog scaring.

  • Sure now the dang thing has been hacked. But that doesn't make it particularly usefull - yet. This hack seems to center around the fact that an autistic(?) little boy benefitted from the Furby as an educational toy. Truely a wonderful thing! But - just how much forward progress will this child's mother be able to make (and anyone trying to use this for an educational purpose) while the tools require advanced development skills?
    What there needs to be is a second contest (anyone care to sponser? *grin*) that focuses on developing development tools which can be used by non-techie folks. When those become available and this boys mom can fire up her winblows 2010 and "make stuff happen", then we'll have true brag material.

    Just the facts.. keep your flames to yourself..
  • I tend to agree with you, you might as well put a mini-pc in Furby fur and call it a hacked Furby...

    Although on second thought, the "hack" aspect may have to do with using the Furby's I/O stuff (speaker, infrared, etc)

  • by BilldaCat ( 19181 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @12:06PM (#603037) Homepage
    No need to worry, knowing Slashdot, the story will probably be re-posted in the next week. Just be patient. :)
  • Check out this post http://slashdot. org/com ments.pl?sid=00/11/24/1913221&cid=74 [slashdot.org], down near the bottom it mentions it.
  • by black_widow ( 41044 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @12:57PM (#603039) Homepage
    ...would of couse be the furby virus.

    using that IR port, potty-mouth-itis would spread like wildfire....

    Put a few of these infected rats for sale on ebay, which are then snapped up by collectors who place the potty-mouth furby into their vast collection. The rest would be history.
  • "carpe carne" would be a better attempt at "sieze the meat".

    "carne diem", however, would be a really cool name for a rock band.

  • Which just goes to showe that the whole universe is ronzelle between...
  • by philj ( 13777 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @12:14PM (#603042)
    Mirror Here [trollied.com] - The main site's slashdotted.
  • Gore and party haven't "hacked" the Florida election process - they've simply invoked the existing election statutes, seeking the truth about how many votes were actually cast for both candidates. It's called the democratic process. When (more) accurate counts have been completed, then let the fair results stand, whichever candidate wins.

    Dubya and party _are_ attempting to "crack" the process, what with obstructionist tactics by their (Bush campaign co-chair) Secretary of State, unfounded inflammatory allegations, irresponsible rhetoric, actions to disenfranchise minority voters, systematic fraud (adding voter registration numbers to over 4,700 absentee ballots in direct contravention of black-letter election law), and violent intimidation of local election officials (and that's just what's known so far, yet to be investigated and adjudicated).

    However, I agree with you that the Furby hardware hack _is_ a hack.
  • The first thing I thought when I saw a Furby was cool new Gremlins.

    Considering the similarities I always wondered why they never had legal problems with the 'look and feel' of a gremlin being so close.

    They look a little alike,do Furbies sound like Gremlins ?

    Slightly offtopic I know, but I'm too curious too worry about kharma burn
  • Their elections are always like that. The candidates always have brothers in office, they try to re- and re- and re-ad-infinitum-count the votes when the result is adverse, etc...

    I think the United Nations should intervene in that country and take over the obviously corrupt political process there. The "president" wouldn't care anyway, he got his wife "elected", and as long as he gets blowjobs from young women he's happy...

  • The mother of an autistic boy wrote the author of the challenge and said that her son's speech was improving while playing with the Furby. Of course the language the Furby uses is less helpful than teaching a more mainstream language. Basically, the author was looking forward to sending her a modified Furby to help her son improve his communication.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Hack Your Coffee Pot to Act Like a Furby contest also ended today. The winner succesfuly made his coffee pot act like a Furby, but then went on to destroy it minutes later after being driven mad by its chattering.
  • :g/^ */s// /
    ggvGgq

    Output:
    Hack Furby Challenge Won!

    LOS ALTOS, Calif., Nov 13 2000. The "Hack Furby" Challenge
    has been won.

    Furby [TM Tiger Electronics] was the smash hit toy of
    Christmas 1998 and after. Furby is a small furry doll with
    an electro-mechanical interior that lets it run through a
    pre-programmed repertoire of speech and movement. Furbies
    gradually let out more speech and actions the more you
    handle them, creating a powerful illusion that they learn.
    In fact the customer has no ability to make a Furby act in a
    way different to the way it was programmed at the factory.
    Up till now...

    The Hack Furby Challenge

    In January 1999, Silicon Valley-based engineer Peter van
    der Linden issued a challenge to the computer engineering
    world through his website http://www.afu.com "Make Furby
    re-programmable!" Author of several books on computer
    programming, including the best-selling Just Java 2, van der
    Linden explained his challenge thus: "Being an inveterate
    gadget lover and tinkerer, I bought one of the first Furbies
    available and dismantled it.

    The potential for Furby to become a general purpose
    computing device was immediately obvious. The thing already
    has a CPU and is bristling with peripherals including
    infrared I/O, several motion detectors, eye and mouth
    movements, a loudspeaker and a microphone. All it needed was
    a little encouragement from me to get a great set of Open
    Source community engineers working on it." If Furby could be
    re-programmed by its users, it would become a much more
    interesting and educational device. Instead of listening to
    your Furby talk "Furbish", you could play chess with it.
    Instead of pressing your Furby's beak, you could have it
    announce your email or calendar appointments. You can have
    Furby record voice memos or phone calls for later replay.
    You can program Furby to solve mathematical puzzles and
    equations, to look for Mersenne prime numbers, or simply to
    act as a speaking clock. Rework the mouth servo with
    hydraulics to open beer cans, have the only speaking garden
    gnome on the block. Heck, it doesn't really matter, the
    point is to create individual conceptual art from
    mass-produced ephemera.

    Furby designer Dave Hampton strongly opposed allowing
    sophisticated users to customize the device. Hampton had
    seen earlier toys like Microsoft's "Barney the Talking
    Dinosaur" product subverted by graduate students, who put
    colorful expletives into the mouth of the purple behemoth.
    The Redmond monopoly provided the software for the talking
    Barney toy.

    Tough Work

    Hampton wanted to prevent owners from creating "potty-mouth
    Furby" and Tiger Electronics (the Furby distributor) wanted
    to frustrate competitors from copying the design. As a
    result, the cpu and memory of each Furby are encased in a
    tough shell of resin. There is no practical way to break
    through to examine the electronics without shattering them
    in the process. Furby hacking contrasts with the Lego
    Mindstorms toy, which embraced and co-opted the freelance
    development community, selling a lot more product in the
    process. The active opposition of designer and manufacturer
    made Furby hacking significantly harder. But the development
    community views Furby's lack of programmability as a design
    flaw or bug, and all bugs (no matter how tough) yield in the
    end.

    "I knew it would be quite difficult to crack Furby security
    and create a user-programmable version of Furby, so I
    offered a cash prize as an incentive to try" said van der
    Linden. Prizes of this kind were often staked by
    industrialists in the early days of aviation, to encourage
    new designs and faster progress.

    And The Winner Is...!

    The prize of two hundred and fifty dollars was won by
    Canadian computer consultant Jeffrey Gibbons, who submitted
    the winning prototype by Fedex. The design is being
    published to the public under the terms of the competition,
    and orders are being taken for a "Hack Furby" kit over the
    Internet.

    "The cash prize is just a token," explained van der Linden,
    "The real prize is the bragging rights to the
    accomplishment, and the benefit of sharing it with the
    world. Computer Science departments can now base their
    real-time programming courses on this very low-cost
    equipment."

    One of the first re-programmed Furbies will be sent to the
    mother who contacted van der Linden early in the challenge.
    She noticed the speech of her autistic son improved greatly
    when interacting with the Furby. But she was despondent
    about the gibberish that the standard Furby talks. That
    mother was anxious to find a Furby that could be upgraded
    with normal speech, to help autistic children relate to the
    the real world. Her son's Furby will now be delivered in
    time for Christmas, thanks to the "Hack Furby Challenge"
    (subject to kit production). Parents of autistic children
    everywhere will value the chance to transform Furby from a
    trivial amusement into an educational aid.

    A Challenge For Software Folks

    There is always a higher mountain to climb, and van der
    Linden plans to issue a new challenge. "Now that the
    original problem has been solved, I plan to stake a new
    prize for the first person to port a Java Virtual Machine to
    this architecture. The Java 2 Micro Edition is wonderfully
    suitable for driving the embedded Furby processor, at the
    same time allowing programmers to write high-level portable
    code." The first Furby challenge was for hardware folks;
    this new challenge allows software experts to show their
    skills.

    A Java virtual machine has already been ported to the Lego
    Mindstorms computer. TinyVM is an open source JavaTM based
    replacement firmware for the Lego MindstormsTM RCX
    microcontroller. The RCX is a programmable brick that comes
    with Lego's Robotics Invention SystemTM. For further details
    on the Java/Lego system see http://lejos.sourceforge.net/.
    If Java can run on a Lego block, it can definitely run on a
    Furby.

    What of the original prototype, the world's first
    user-programmable Furby? "It's standing on my kitchen table
    right now, being eyed warily by my dogs" laughs van der
    Linden, "I think I'll offer it to the Smithsonian in due
    course".

  • by Mr_Icon ( 124425 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @11:19AM (#603049) Homepage

    Now they need to hack "Barney the singing Dinosaur" from Microsoft and make it sing "time for kink and sodomy", at the end of which he would mutilate itself.

  • http://trollied.com/mirrors/furby/
  • Knowing slashdot, it could just be a misinterpretation of an article that wasn't read fully before posting.


    ---
  • I wouldn't mind it since the mistakes of that type are evenly distributed. Either that, or everything I've learned about statistics is crap.
  • So the hack furby kit includes a Philips 89c51rd2 a 20Mhz 80c51 core, a RS232 port and whatever else. What they left out is the jackhammer you need to break through the resin core to get at the insides of your furby and use your hack furby kit :)

  • Tiger Electronics also has the Gremlins license.

    In fact, they make a Gremlin that speaks Furby-protocol.

    What should we call that? SIFP? Simple Infrared Furby Protocol?

    -
  • I ported the furbys eyes to my mr potato head...
  • by LHOOQtius_ov_Borg ( 73817 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @11:44AM (#603058)
    At least one person who did a Furby Autopsy [phobe.com] was not very impressed with the construction of the system.

    Some possibly nicer robot kits are available in a number of places, including the Robot Store [robotstore.com], Probotics [personalrobots.com], and Arrick [robotics.com]... Of course, there are also the cool Mindstorms [mit.edu], the relatively expensive Aibo [aibo.com] (Some hacking info on it can be dug up from the Aibo Site [aibosite.com]), and the companies listed in this part of the robotics faq [u-ryukyu.ac.jp]

    However, Hacking the Furby [hackfurby.com] does give you a relatively inexpensive talking robot with IR input, etc. and ought to be fun... While not the most well constructed system, it does give you some decent features (detects light & sound levels, tilt/inversion of the furby, Infrared and RS232 comms (when upgraded [20m.com]), and some touch sensors on the back, front, and mouth) - especially nice if you get one used, cheap...

    It is nice that the reprogrammability kits are being made available, particularly for parents of autistic children (since children can relate to a Furby better than a "regular" hobbyist-grade robot)...

    Also, check out the open-source Rossum Project [sourceforge.net]
  • by sean@thingsihate.org ( 121677 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @12:16PM (#603059) Homepage
    Does this Furby hack include the ability to equip them with firearms? I'd like a Furby with a high-voltage taser attachment and the ability to fire lasers out its eyes.. and hell, while I'm at it, I'd like it to breathe fire. Be a surprise for the first person that tries to tickle its tummy.
  • The Furby chips are encased in resin. I don't know if this is for anti-hacking or just cost reduction, but there are solvents available to remove all sorts of resins.

    I'm certain that competing toy manufacturers have already deconstructed the whole Furby, but the basic thing is not so much hardware and software, it's more about the general idea of an interactive artificial pet. Given the advance in electronics in the last couple of years, they could build a better Furby-emulator by now, but it would still be just a copy.

    But hacking is not just reverse engineering. Even assuming that hackers could buy the appropriate chemicals (they can) and dissolve the resin, they could damage the chips in the process. And how would a hacker replace a ROM chip inside a resin block? The problem seems to be more about chemistry and mechanics than about software.

  • http://www.afu.com/furby/winner.html

    500 Server Error
    The hard transfer limit for this user has been reached

    Just great, can someone email winner.html out of their cache or something so I can host it.

    ---
    Fred Ackermann
    e-mail: fred@warnerve.net
    homepage: www.warnerve.net
    mobile: 0402 293 572
  • There was a "happy hacking" column in Wired a few years ago about how to alter Barney.

    ----

  • Hacking coffee pots is enough of a problem ;-)

    Mr. Coffee [cmu.edu] on the web
    --------------------------
  • Hrm.
    This makes me wonder... Has anyone sucessfully Hacked one of the Singing Bigmouth Billy Bass fishes?

    Some person in my family.. (she who will remain nameless..) Got me one for a birthday.. after 10 minutes it lost its appeal.. Now.. If I could somehow pipe alternate music into it.. that might make it more interesting..

    (/me has this wonderful mental image of the Bass singing "Heroin is so Passe" by the Dandy Warhols.)

    OK I might just be a bit twisted, but has anyone heard of any successul projects to hack this thing? Google turned up crap when I searched.

  • by compwiz3688 ( 98919 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @11:25AM (#603065)
    That pic looks like a Furborg to me... I wonder if it does assimulation?
    ---
  • No, if anything - the post I replied to was off-topic. As is yours....
  • Imagine burglar put to flight by a barking Furby...
  • You just have it talk to MS Barney until it explodes.
  • I assume that the guy who posed the challenge will assemble it for the kid and his mother. What i wonder is will the Furby still hold the same fascination for the kid when it has its guts bare to the breeze and hald a dozen circuit boards sticking out of it at odd angles. Im not very familiar with autism but it was probably the cute appearance of the furby that fascinated the kid (or maybe he somehow interpreted the furby gibberish as meaningful) but when you change these things he wont be interested anymore.

  • I have to agree. Replacing the core electronics is not the same as hacking the original chips. Of course, it does allow the Furby to do something other then what was originally intended by the creator of it, so it could be considered a hack by others.

    My question is, has the code for Furby's ever been posted anywhere? I would assume it is proprietary, but you never know...

    Kierthos
  • 500 Server error

    The hard transfer limit for this user has been reached.

    /.-ed already, even on a "holiday" for several of us.

    ---

  • This isn't real, and you're really gullible if you believe it...

    *NEWSFLASH*
    In the greatest achievement in history, a Furby has been hacked so that it can communicate with you Palm Pilot! This means that by pointing you Palm Pilot at it and pressing the hot-sync key, your Furby can give you information on people in your Palm's addressbook, just by asking it! (continued on page 3 - Furby)

    Furby
    The downside to all this is, however, that you must first teach it to be multi-lingual. This is because you will need it to be able to talk your language, and you'll need it to talk Palm Pilot. Rumor has it that this will be made easier by a new dictionary from Websters that has English and Palm Pilot translations.
    The next day...

    *NEWSFLASH*
    For those of you who remember yesterday's story about the Palm-Pilot/Furby mix, you'll want to keep reading this. Nerds all over the world have discovered that the Furbys retain their information, and have developed intelectual reasoning as a side-effect of the hack. This has resulted in Furbys telling random passerbys off. (This part is real...)This was noticed by members of a highschool robotics team participating in the Texas BEST [texasbest.org] competion when the Furby cussed out the teacher of their class and stated "This is boring." (end real part.) It also told the students about information from his calendar on his date with a mistress - just as his wife walked in.

    And they say technology isn't dangerous...

  • Unfortunately, it seems the site in question will be down for a while -- the user has hit their hard transfer limit -- if anyone has a copy of this cached, please upload it somewhere for everyone else to read.
  • Yee!!! That code was _very_ smelly. I've cleaned it up a but, shouldn't be any problems.
  • You're just missing a key bit of data. The heavily republican-party counties tend to use more modern and accurate optical systems instead of the punch cards, whereas for whatever reason, the big democratic-party areas are still using out of date equipment. This isn't a conspiracy or anything, but the fact is, it's most likely more that Gore votes got lost. This is why Bush opposes the recount so much -- he knows there's a good chance of a turnaround.

    --

  • Yeah, but what is actually hacked? Cutting a few wires and connecting them to another board is hardly what I would call hacking, still...

    Anywho, I'm posting this from an airplane at 1.99$/minute, so I'd better quite. (I should have posted a FPFA, First Post From Airplane) :)

    Later, Breace.
  • Which of the new interactive/robotic dolls this christmas will get skinned next?
  • Hhhmmmm..... which one will be beat up next?

    Hard to say - the programmable Billy Bass sounds
    interesting. Maybe one of the interactive dogs?

    If there's a big hit - I'll probably hack the hardware.

    Right now I'm just trying to keep ahead of orders
    for the upgrade kit and keep the development of
    FurbOS 0.1 on track.

  • If anyone is actually crazy enough to attempt this
    I'd like to hear from them.

    IrObex and IrLMP is on the list of goodies to be developed.

  • As previously mentioned, Furbys kinda look like a Mogwai. In fact, they look so much like Mogwai, there's a Furby-Mogwai available (what was his name? Gizmo?). I've seen it at Wal-Mart a couple times, with the "Limited Edition" type of box, and the Gremlins movie logo-title looking thing on it.


    Del
  • ITYM "Not if you were the last junkie on earth" HTH HAND
  • Even more interesting: Furbys (Furbies?) are selling for $5 each at ToysRUs in Emeryville, CA.
  • The furby has a pathetic little micro compared to what can be had for a few bucks in other places. Mr. Robot [mrrobot.com] has a single chip mirco based on the Moterola MC68HC11. Let me tell you that 30 bucks for the parts buys one hell of a micro that you can do a whole lot with. It has 24 IO lines (8 have and A/D converter) and can drive up to 16 servos. If you want to blow a little more cash they have a real nice one with 32K of RAM that will even modulate and demodulate IR when you are using IR ranging and trust me, you want to modulate! (40Khz)

    I don't work for them but I have bought some excellent stuff from them. You will need the serial communications adapter or whatever they call it but you only need one for all your micros so unlike others that have it built in you get a smaller board and pay less. Hell is other people - Satre

  • by Breace ( 33955 ) on Friday November 24, 2000 @11:32AM (#603086) Homepage
    Is this really a hack? He's basically replaced the core electronics (the microcontroller).

    I would have thought that a hack would involve running custom code on the original controller.

    Not to play down the effort or anything, but I don't see what this has to do with a Furby. It's not like you can run to the store, buy a Furby, hook it to your serial port, reprogram it and let it yell 'fart', or something.

    Anyways, if anything it shows that the makers of the Furby have done an excellent job in making something that is _really_ hard to reverse-engineer.

    Breace

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? -- Charlie McCarthy

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