Furby Hacking

It’s odd how some toy fads come and go as one hit wonders while others seem to stick around and take on a life of their own. Of course, there’s no question that one of the oddest toys with the longest track record is Hasbro’s Furby.

Whether you’re a Furby lover or hater, you have to admit that they’ve got staying power. Perhaps it’s because they give the illusion that they do have a life of the their own, but personally I believe that it’s because of the wide variety of mischief that they can support.

In case you’re not up to speed, here’s a quick spot for latest edition called Furby Connect.

Treating a Furby as a “starter” pet has a certain amount of charm. That’s probably why there’s a ridiculous number of Furby videos on YouTube that feature things like them talking to Siri and dancing Gangnam Style. It’s right up there with cat and dog videos.

However, if you’ve owned a Furby, then you know that the real fun doesn’t begin until you get two or more of the critters together. Then they really carry on. Here’s a party of 20 of them chattering away to each other.

That trick will entertain kids for a bit, but it’s certainly not the main source of attraction.

That honor most certainly must go to the “hackability” of its personality. While parents may encourage their children to be responsible and take Care of Furby, their off spring are inevitably going to explore how to Turn Furby Evil.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Furby personalities, here’s a short demonstration of the difference between a good and bad Furby (complete with burps).

Here’s a commercial that plays on the idea.

Here’s a 360° video that shows that when you get a group of evil Furbies together, things can get really scary. It also shows that you can find a 360° video about almost anything as well as that there’s some very odd stuff on YouTube (as if you didn’t know that already).

That video was actually about a game entitled Tattletail that takes the concept of evil Furbies to a whole ‘nother level.
Furbies Get Their Own Horror Game with Tattletail (David Gelmini, Dread Central)

Now if you think that this post is going to stop at someone hacking together a Furby coven, you’re wrong. There are far more extreme Furby hacks out there.

For example, one father and son duo took the concept quite literally, and this resulting “longish” video is surprisingly gruesome.

Then there’s another guy who decided to transform his Furby into an Amazon Echo that he then dubbed Furlexa. The video of how he did it is shorter than the last one, it squeezes in a ton of Furby history, and it has a lot more details about Furby innards. Oh, and we also get to find out if Furby is flammable.

Furlexa strikes me as sort of creepy in all sorts of ways, but here are instructions on how to make one if you’re into that sort of thing.
I turned a Furby into an Amazon Echo. Introducing: Furlexa

Finally, my award for best Furby hacker goes to an artist named Sam Battle that frames his work under the moniker Look Mum No Computer. He engages in a niche practice known as circuit bending to create things like a Furby Organ.

Here’s a feature video and article about his work by Dani Deahl from The Verge.

Circuit bending: Hacking a Furby in the name of music (Dani Deahl, The Verge)

If you’re inspired to hack a Furby, or other toys, here are some links to get you started.
6 Amazing Terrifying Toys that have been Circuit Bent (Steve Aoki)
Intro to Circuit Bending (Joseph Thibodeau, Hack a Day)
Circuit Bending For Beginners (David Erik Nelson, Performer Magazine)
Simple Ways to Circuit Bend a Toy (Instructables)
How to Circuit Bend (WikiHow)

If you want to learn all about how Furbies came about and keep on succeeding, check out this neat article.
The History Of Furby, The Electronic Pet That Took The Late ’90s By Storm (Lucia Peters, Bustle)

Happy Furby Hacking!

Find out more about toys and construction sets