' ); } }) .catch(function(err) { (console.error || console.log)(err); }); }());

Furby attempts a comeback with LCD eyes and iOS app

Reported within the Gadgetwise column in the New York Times this week, Hasbro’s furry, robotic doll called the Furby will hit store shelves during September 2012. The talkative furball come equipped with new features such as backlit LCD eyeballs in addition to integration with an iOS application for the iPad. Beneath the fur of the Furby, Hasbro engineers have also included a variety of touch sensors as well as a microphone to listen for speech or music. When the microphone picks up music, the Furby will actually start dancing which looks somewhat like a penguin waddling to the left and right. The mechanical aspects of the Furby control the beak, blinking eyelids, flapping ears and bending portions of the body. The new Furby also has several personalities that can be selected by the user and the robot can detect the mood of someone’s voice by the tone in their voice.

The iOS application uses high frequency audio to communicate with the small robotic doll. When the user places the iPad in front of the Furby and swipes an object towards the robot, the Furby will interact with the item being swiped. For instance, Hasbro senior project engineer Don Cameron demonstrates swiping food into the Furby’s mouth.

During the demonstration, the Furby makes eating noises and spits back an empty container once it’s done “eating” the meal. The iPad application also includes a collection of translations between the English language and the Furbish language. Children could learn a variety of Furbish pronunciations in order to communication more clearly with the robot.

The Furby was first released during late 1998 and quickly became the hot toy of the shopping season. Similar to other toys in high demand, the $35 Furby were often resold for several hundred dollars to desperate parents seeking the toy for their children. The popularity of the Furby continued to rise during 1999 and Tiger Electronics, the original creators, ended up selling over forty million units before popularity waned during the following year. 

Hasbro attempted to revive the Furby line during 2005 with the Emoto-tronic Furby design. This version of the children’s toy was upgraded to include voice recognition for communication as well as more advanced facial features. However, the Emoto-tronic Furby wasn’t able to communicate with the original Furby line and the Emoto-tronic Furby didn’t come with motion sensors. Hasbro ended up discontinuing the line during 2007.

The new Furby can communicate with other new Furbys, however Hasbro hasn’t indicated if the new robotic doll will communicate with the original Furby or the Emoto-tronic Furby. Parents may get frustrated with the fact that Hasbro didn’t include an OFF switch with the Furby. Unless the Furby is completely isolated from any type of noise or light, the four AA batteries have to be removed from underneath the Furby to silence the robot. At a retail price of $60 per robot, the new Furby is nearly twice the price of the original. Hasbro hasn’t indicated the pricing model for the iOS application. It’s possible that the application will be free, but include in-app purchases for items like new foods for the Furby.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.