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Toys

The Teddy Borg is Alive! 354

probabilistic writes: "Check out what bored MIT students are up to -- a few of my friends, in their never-ending quest for network connectivity and female companionship, created the Teddy Borg. It might look like an innocent teddy bear, but behind the soft exterior lurks a GigaFast 5-port 10/100 ethernet switch."
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The Teddy Borg is Alive!

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  • Uses? (Score:3, Funny)

    by SabrStryk ( 323739 ) <sabrstrykNO@SPAMcarolina.rr.com> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:47PM (#3102763)
    What's the point of this? Maybe networking a bunch of animals together? Or the proverbial Beowulf cluster of stuffed animals?
    • Re:Uses? (Score:5, Funny)

      by duren686 ( 463275 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:55PM (#3102819) Homepage Journal
      Well, if you didn't have an iPod [slashdot.org], you could bring one into a computer store and leave it innocently hooked up to the ethernet port of one of the demo machines (and put a hard drive inside it, of course) and steal office apps.
    • Re:Uses? (Score:5, Funny)

      by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:00PM (#3102848) Homepage
      What's the point of this? Maybe networking a bunch of animals together? Or the proverbial Beowulf cluster of stuffed animals?

      Wow, I can see this. Put MicroATX PCs inside teddy bears... one paw for power, the other for net... create beowulf cluster...

      "See that pile of stuffed animals over there? That's my teraflop supercomputer."

      Just watch out when your male cat starts coming in to hump the nodes. Gives a whole new meaning to "wiping data".
    • Re:Uses? (Score:4, Funny)

      by glitch! ( 57276 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:29PM (#3102969)
      What's the point of this? Maybe networking a bunch of animals together?

      I think they were bored. Now, I think it would really funny to put a small embedded processor in the bear with an IR receiver and transmitter. The IR receiver would harvest the signals from your TV/VCR/DVD remote control, and then the bear got "bored", it would replay those IR commands in random order :-)

      Or for the more ambitious, it could have a more powerful processor and an 802.11b interface. It would listen for wireless networks, and try to gain access. Then, of course, it would automatically run exploits against any host it found.

      Either one of these bears would make a great gift for an unsuspecting recipient :-)
    • Re:Uses? (Score:3, Funny)

      by LuckyPhil ( 549767 )
      I suppose you could install the switch inside a Furby.

      Then you would have a fast ethernet switch that really "loves you"

    • Re:Uses? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Bob Uhl ( 30977 )
      Or the proverbial Beowulf cluster of stuffed animals?

      It might not be common knowledge, so I figured that I'd point out that beowulf is Old English for bear...

  • Amazing (Score:3, Funny)

    by gazbo ( 517111 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:50PM (#3102777)
    Oh, well. If it was done at MIT it must have been impressive. As a non MIT graduate I would find it impossible to put some electronics inside something else.

    Actually I'm going to start a new project: given raw materials of a computer and a box, I will put the computer inside the box. Clever eh?

    Actually no. It'll never be interesting because I'm not at MIT.
    • Re:Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:57PM (#3102831) Homepage Journal
      Actually I'm going to start a new project: given raw materials of a computer and a box, I will put the computer inside the box. Clever eh?

      Only if it was a cool case mod, which Slashdot routinely coveres, and which is basically what this is. And it is really well done, not just a "toss in a router and trail the cables out the back". The three points that I like are the power and uplink leds inserted into the eyes, the placement of the power and uplink cords into the GitS/Matrix standard "nape of the neck", and the color coordinated jacks in the paws. Where the hell did they get hot pink RJ-45 jacks and cable heads?

      --
      Evan

    • Re:Amazing (Score:2, Funny)

      by 1155 ( 538047 )
      You need an MIT education to put a network switch in a Teddy Bear.

      You have to go to Harvard to learn how to put parts into box.

      Water cooling.. whatever that term means, is still being expirimented with in classes at Oxford, but who knows.
  • I bet you could sell these things like hotcakes for LAN parties. Seriously.
    • Well.. even better.. instead of stuffing network switches into a teddy bear, why not stuff a cable modem / adsl modem into one? I guess those would sell more popularly, and I would definately have a Tux penguin sat on top of my PC knowing that it actually served a purpose :)
  • Bored MIT students? (Score:2, Informative)

    by vlad_petric ( 94134 )
    I'm sorry, but that's kind of ... impossible.

    The Raven
  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:52PM (#3102789) Homepage
    I'm sure there could be a million inventive ways to hide our mundane technology into things that are more decorative.

    How about hiding a switch inside a picture frame... or even better a wireless switch...

    Computers like any other technology component ultimately should be invisible or at the very least appealing to home users.

    I have a feeling that this bear, like many other "whim" ideas may be the beginning of something much better.... A step in the "refinement" of home computing.

    • A project that I will start on as soon as I move into aplace I'll be at for more than 6-12 months:

      The potted switch/router project.
      I want to build a pot that will have a router and a switch in the base, with passage for water and such around it - then plant a nice (fake) dragon tree in it, and then place small spot lights at the bottom.

      I've often found that you need a router at home in inconvenient places (as my current place has no phone jack in the "office" so it's sitting in the living room. Other projects include actual desks and functional pieces of furniture that contain hardware. A computer in every room is not enough - I want one in every desk/table/plant!
    • Computers like any other technology component ultimately should be invisible or at the very least appealing to home users.

      I believe they're called Macs.

  • Be Careful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vishniac ( 548699 ) <adfoiusdf AT sariuoisdkl DOT com> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:52PM (#3102791)
    While your geek girlfriend might find the Teddy Borg to be a cute and clever Valentine's gift, your non-geek girlfriend will likely be horrified.

    Some girls just don't have a sense of humor.

  • by twfry ( 266215 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:52PM (#3102794)
    She likes it because its cute.

    You like it because its a Giga switch
  • by Chef_TM ( 563785 ) <{sanguinus} {at} {postmaster.co.uk}> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:54PM (#3102803)
    I to wondered what the heck "Teddy Borg" is for....

    Then I saw the poll at the end.

    Desirable to geek chicks.....


    Guess this is why I'd never get into MIT. These guys KNOW how to get laid!
    • I saw the pole at the end too. One of the options was "cool". I thought to myself, "Yeah, leave it to a bunch of bored MIT geeks to know what is cool".
      • Re:It's Raisn d'Etre (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Chef_TM ( 563785 )
        Is it me or are MIT geeks seen as the world leaders in "geek coolness?" Its a pretty amazing place where some of the most innovative technology research is done. Yet everytime a student does anything remotely entertaining, its splashed on geek sites across the world.

        I guess it just enhances the myth
    • Am I the only person on slashdot who suspects that maybe this probably isn't that desirable to geek chicks?

      Correct me if I'm wrong. Please.

  • by Metrollica ( 552191 ) <m etrollica AT hotmail D0T com> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:54PM (#3102804) Homepage Journal
    I think the project could have been helped a lot by using an actual Borg Teddy Bear [thelionspride1.com].
  • Bother (Score:5, Funny)

    by GSV NegotiableEthics ( 560121 ) <autecfmuk001@sneakemail.com> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:54PM (#3102806) Homepage
    "Bother," said the Borg. "We've assimilated Pooh."
  • Pish posh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dan Crash ( 22904 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:54PM (#3102807) Journal
    Let's see them put a network switch inside a *real* bear. Then I'll be impressed.
    • Getting the network switch into the bear isn't the hard part...
      • Getting the network switch into the bear isn't the hard part...
        The hard part is connecting the power and ethernet cables.

        Once you do it, nobody will flood-ping the network out of fear of being "shut down" by the bear.

  • .net? (Score:3, Funny)

    by mansoft ( 371174 ) <zouave@nospAM.telefonica.net> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:54PM (#3102808) Homepage
    Yeah, the next step is to extrapolate and sell this great idea to Microsoft so that they can install the .NET platform on teddy bears and other kinds of toys. Resistance is futile.
  • ...is because MIT/IS does not allow switches on the network. All you are allowed to do is plug cat5 directly into a port. If you need more ports, you gotta tell IS to give you more. This incredibly public advertising is a good way for the admins to take away your connectivity :)
  • i submitted (Score:3, Funny)

    by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @05:56PM (#3102822) Homepage
    i submitted a story last week about IBM embedding strong cryptographic chips in their computers and it was rejected.

    instead we have MIT boneheads embedding a switch in a bear.
    • Re:i submitted (Score:3, Insightful)

      by passion ( 84900 )

      i submitted a story last week about IBM embedding strong cryptographic chips in their computers and it was rejected.

      Just a theory, but it seems as though the flavor of stories change at different times of the week. Fridays tend to be more cooky, wacky, fun, pranks. Weekends are more of the softy stuff, like JonKatz movie reviews and amusement parks. Monday morning it's back to business with new breakthrough discoveries and lawsuit announcements. Of course, you've got to stick in the random noise of zeitgeists being brought to public attention, and political happenings.

      In summary - you probably should have waited to post your IBM story on a monday morning.

      Or, paid Taco a subscription fee... :(

    • Heh, how much do you want to bet the exact same story posted by a student from West Cowville Community College wouldn't have been accepted?

      Slashdot story submissions are far more likely to be accepted if you a) name drop (MIT, Linus Torvalds, etc.), or b) use a lot of 133t jargon or technical specifications.

      This story did both. Though I'm not sure why they'd be impressed by a switch referred to by it's model name, number, and speed. "Hey, I just installed a LNEPCI2 EtherPCI lan card with coax port" "wow, man, you must be some sort of god!"
  • to get a story posted to slashdot. I always wondered how to get my articles actually up there. NExt time I have a story, I will shove it into a stuffed animal and prepare my servers for slashdotting.

    Gimme a break already.
    • by zaius ( 147422 ) <jeff@zaius. d y ndns.org> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:26PM (#3102961)
      Imagine how many hits you'd get if you turned your stuffed animal into a webserver... brings new meaning to "server farm"...
    • This story has all the right elements to appear on the front page. It mentions:

      College students (and lots of bonus points for being MIT students)

      Star Trek

      "female companionship"

      The challenges of geekhood

      Network connectivity

      Taking things apart and modifying them, not necessarily for a useful purpose.

      Toys

      Of course, I don't know how it got through without even mentioning Linux or Anime. Maybe Slashdot needs to work on its story filter.

      • My favorite part was getting modded Offtopic for that post. Look at the first two words of the post.

        Perhaps it was too thoughtful for the moderator. Too much analysis going on. Not enough "yeah, me too." or "Teddy bear...cool"

        I can see how posters might feel ripped off after spending time reading a post like that, rather than one that delves into the serious life-altering issues of routers in Teddy bears.

        On the other hand, writing about funny moderators really is off-topic. Mods, you know what you have to do.
  • This doesn't sound like much.
    Now, if you put a Wi-Fi hub in the teddy, that would be something.
    For extra credit, make it so that your girlfriend likes it and keeps it in the bedroom, so that you can surf the web conveniently behind her back..
    • by mrzaph0d ( 25646 )
      if i were gonna give my girlfriend a stuffed animal with electronics inside, it wouldn't just consist of a hub. there'd definately be some "imaging" equipment too..

    • by mmkhd ( 142113 )
      And a further addition could
      be the "anatomically correct" Wi-Fi bear
      with above mentioned camera.

      Just keeping up the bad taste.

      (Female participants are encouraged to
      add their own tastless comments.)

  • by larien ( 5608 )
    Error!

    The page you were looking for has apparently been eaten.

    Sorry. I was hungry.

    It been slashdotted already?

    • I was thinking MIT had a new anti-slashdot defense system in place. Once that referrer of slashdot.org hits the switches, some computer somewhere goes "OH SHIT! Someone posted a story about us on slashdot!" and immediately deletes the page in question.

      I'll have to give it a try again a bit later once things settle down.

  • by d5w ( 513456 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:01PM (#3102858)
    Ok, struggling to find some /. relevance to this, I'll just point out that the name Beowulf does, in fact mean "bear" (it's an Old English compound "beo" ("bee") + "wulf" ("wolf") = "bee predator" = "bear"). So this is clearly the right infrastructure for hooking up a Beowulf cluster.

    Ok, slim material, but I did like seeing the status LEDs in the eyes.

  • by Nathdot ( 465087 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:02PM (#3102863)
    I dunno, maybe it's just me but I woulda used red for the bear's eyes [mit.edu]

    And as far as his "vain hope of attracting women" goes, well, dude thay're the vainest! (ie don't cross your fingers, and wait for the phone to ring)

    :)
  • It has a Matrix reference too. :)

    Hmm, I think I need an Ant Farm with geeky cables, LEDs, etc. ;)

  • by clark625 ( 308380 ) <clark625@NosPAM.yahoo.com> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:05PM (#3102877) Homepage

    Judging by people's posts thus far, most just don't get it. What's the point to this--it's just a switch in a teddy bear? Heck--I could do this on my own. It's not that interesting. Oh wait, since it was students at MIT, it must be really neat.

    Frankly, I doubt most people here could ever get it. This teddy bear is so cool only because it makes a much nicer UI than a cheezy box with a few blinken lights and ports. It's soft and fuzzy. It's not beige and scary. If I had a daughter, I'd love the idea of giving her a laptop and a switch like this. All of a sudden, the idea of a "sleepover computer party" wouldn't be so gosh darn nerdy. They could stay up all night playing with Virtual Barbie or whatever is the software of the year.

    Plus, what's so special about these MIT guys is that they have documented the heck out of this little endeavour. I'd gladly hire one of these guys to work with me. Sure, it's not the best idea every conceived--but at least it's documented. I could now go and reproduce their efforts without much thought.

    In all, it seems rather impressive to me. It's a neat new UI that's not typical. It's documented to all heck. That beats half of everything I've ever done.

    • If you ask me, a bear with cat5 coming out of its paws and light-up lights is far scarier than my innocent little 'normal' 8-port switch.
    • If I had a daughter, I'd love the idea of giving her a laptop and a switch like this

      Well would your imaginary daughter like this hello kitty laptop?? [exonome.com]. I personally am much more scared of something like that.

      psxndc

  • by NumberSyx ( 130129 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:11PM (#3102901) Journal
    Put one of those wireless netcams in it. Give it to the hot chick down the hall, Instant Free DormPorn. Of course this is very illegal and I am not responsible for the beating you will recieve from her boyfriend and subsequent jail time if you get caught.
  • by thebabelfish ( 213456 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:15PM (#3102916) Homepage
    One of their girlfriends comes to their room...

    "Awwww, what a cute teddy bear! His eye's even light up!" (reaches out and grabs bear, ripping out cables in the process)

    "Nooooooooooooooooo! Not my game of Quake!"

  • by Hal-9001 ( 43188 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:15PM (#3102918) Homepage Journal
    Sorry...I couldn't resist... ;-)
  • by imadork ( 226897 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:18PM (#3102934) Homepage
    The switch will be located inside the bear, so we need to find some way to have the ports accessible from the outside

    Yeah. I stopped reading right there. I don't want to know how to access the bear's ports, thank you very much!

  • They forgot an option on their poll.

    Fire hazzard.

    I was forced to vote evil in the absence of a fire hazzard option.
  • A little work on its "speech" curcuit and "Network down, waaaaa!"
  • by nathanm ( 12287 ) <nathanm AT engineer DOT com> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:33PM (#3102984)
    I'm surprised nobody has posted this yet.

    The ping in the last picture [mit.edu] on the Teddy Borg has the IP 18.238.3.106 listed. I can ping it from here.
    • a DoS attack on a Teddy Bear?
    • When did small consumer switches start getting their own IP addresses? Yah, I know you can manage a cisco via a browser & all that, but we're talking a $50 switch here people!
  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:36PM (#3103000) Homepage Journal
    An MIT student I was acquainted with in the mid-80's went a bit too far making his Teddy Bear "friendly".

    He wired it up with an old heating pad, some silcone tube-type bits, some small motors, plugged it into the wall outlet and, er, got personal with it. Unfortunately sometime soon after the climatic moment while they were still in embrace a bit of fluid shorted out some bit of electronics to a particularly sensitive part of his body.

    His resulting scream apparently roused attention and he required some small bit of recuperative medical care afterwards. When I ran into him a few days later and hear the story he was a bit defensive but interested in a applying some new ideas he'd come up with.

    I lost track of him soon thereafter but I could never see an advert for those Teddy Rumpkins or whatevers afterwards without wondering just who had designed them and what exactly their full capabilities were to be.

    BTW This is the 100th anniversary of the Teddy Bear [steiffusa.com].

  • It looks like probabilistic [mailto] paid his Slashdot subscription! They'll post ANYTHING now!
    Good news to everyone who has gotten used to the word "Rejected"!
  • by Edmund Blackadder ( 559735 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @06:47PM (#3103042)
    now that would be cute funny scary and cool at the same time.
  • by cybermage ( 112274 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @07:35PM (#3103195) Homepage Journal
    First a Teddy Bear switch. What's next, a potpourri heat-sink for your CPU, perhaps?

    Smell the over-clocked goodness.
    • My girlfriend built herself her own computer, but the smell of the chemical cleaners used on the case were really strong, so she hung an air freshner inside the case. It worked.
  • by KirTakat ( 110620 ) on Sunday March 03, 2002 @08:30PM (#3103399)
    I don't think this story was posted because people thought it was something impressive. It was posted because people thought it was something funny and original, not every story posted has to be an earth-shattering breakthrough so stop complaining about it. And the fact that its from MIT has very little to do with it I imagine, its just a funny story that Timothy thought we might enjoy.

  • I see many misdirected e-mails in my future.
  • I wouldn't mind a Domo Kun stuffed animal switch. You could have some sort of LCD readout in his mouth, or have him emit steam from his butt due to excessive packet collision.

    They already have a flapping-arm Domo Kun that flaps its arms if you run an IR remote control to it.
  • It's good to know that stories like these get published, while entirely irrelevent subjects are rejected in record time by our watchful editors. I mean, just take these two for example:

    - MS Paints Bulls-Eye On AOL [internetnews.com]. Certainly of no import to the technically oriented. Little squabbles over who's going to control internet access for millions isn't much of a news item.

    - Stupid White Men Debuts At Number 3 On New York Times Best-Seller List [michaelmoore.com]. Everyone knows the average geek can't stand to read more than five minutes of political commentary, especially if it has nothing to do with Linux. Little things like investigating the shenanigans surrounding the 2000 presidential elections aren't at all interesting - in fact, they're downright unpatriotic! Besides, most techies are white and we wouldn't want to offend their touchy egos.

    Yes, the more I read slashdot the more I'm convinced that our editors do a wonderful job of culling out all those 'unimportant' stories so that we don't have to exercise our brains and do the culling for them. Especially when it's so much more critical to know about the latest kernel release, or the newest toy.

    Max
  • where's the (Score:2, Funny)

    by hany ( 3601 )
    Where's the embedded webcam for girl snooping? I think (based on /. article summary) that this teddy is supposed to be in the room full of girls providing network connectivity for them (as official service) and pictures of girls in the room for those interested (as "unofficial" service).

    :)

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