Furby fury

 作者:班瑗活     |      日期:2019-03-08 04:08:04
You may have been lucky if you failed to buy a Furby, the interactive robot that was the hottest toy at Christmas. The squawking, whirring gremlin is driving parents to distraction. Some have retaliated by taking apart the animatronic annoyance. At www. phobe.com/furby, Jennifer Sparks and Lars Norpchen describe how they peeled the fur off a Furby and explored its gearing and circuitry (don’t try this at home, kids). But be warned—the site includes chillingly clinical Furby autopsy photos. Say Sparks and Norpchen: “We find him much more amusing dead than he was alive.” At www.homestead.com/hackfurby, John Tokash has gone further, with a site which is devoted to uncovering the toy’s inner workings. He has drawn up detailed schematics and has begun to figure out the electronics, despite the fact that the custom chips that govern a Furby’s behaviour are sealed under a blob of epoxy resin. Tokash’s site also provides a helpful chart of what various infrared remote controls will make a Furby do—for instance, hitting the power button on a Daewoo remote will make it sneeze. A WebTV universal remote can get it to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. You can also find out how to elicit “hidden” behaviours with the right combinations of pats and tickles. Taking Furbies apart may be fun for some, but putting them together seems to be much less enjoyable. The New York Post has revealed the poor pay and conditions of Furby workers in at least one Chinese factory. It alleges that those who help make thousands of them each day earn only half the retail price of one toy in a month. You’ll find the report at www.nypost.com/news/8183.htm. On a brighter note, one of the striking things about the Furby is the fact that children show a remarkable ability to learn its language, Furbish, in order to talk to it. Who knows? Maybe the technology will one day be harnessed to teach real languages. More on these topics: