This holiday there’s a new army of updated Furbies on the loose. The original Furby was a toy launched in 1998 that reached cult status within a couple years. It would respond to human language when spoken to, and respond with words in the cryptic “Furbish” language, along with physical gestures via movable eyelids, ears and mouth. Over time, the toy would learn an increasing number of English words.
The new Furby features a few updates physical features. Glowing LCD screens replace the old toy’s static eyes, so it can display a greater range of expression through animation. It also features more responsive capacitive sensors instead of physical buttons, and updated AI gives it a range of personalities, selected based on your interaction with it. Additionally, an iOS app lets you feed the Furby selected virtual foods, along with giving you access to a dictionary a translator to help with Engish-Furbish exchanges.
This winter we’ll be spending time with a Furby that’s been adopted by the SVA MFA IxD program to be featured as a class pet in the upcoming Smart Objects course. Above is a video of one our our first meetings with the new Furby. We’ll let you know how it goes as we get to know wach other better.