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5 Minute Distraction: Poor, Little Furby Crushed by Hydraulic Press

Culture

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Editor’s Note: “I’m still afraid of Furbies.”

Ah, yes… The Furby.

Once an American icon, and now? The latest, funniest thing crushed by a hydraulic press. The robotic-hamster-owl-horrible-creature-hybrid toy was released in 1998, and over 40 million Furbies were sold during the three years of its original production.

Well, times have changed, and we care more about crushing Furbies than playing with them.

 

While the video above is the main focus, there is actually some impressive technology built into Furbies that relates to SMW’s 2017 global theme exploring the evolution of language and technology in our society and the machines around us.

In a way, Furbies were one of the first products that brought robots to homes. Furbies begin speaking in their native tongue, but are programmed to slowly learn English and use elements of voice-recognition and responsive facial movements.

Technology has certainly improved since Furbies came out, especially for kids. Earlier in the year, Mattel announced “Aristotle,” an AI virtual assistant for children, similar to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The device is aimed to be a nanny, friend, and tutor, intended to both soothe a newborn and help a tween with their foreign language homework. It’s an AI to help raise your child, but it sure isn’t as funny-looking as a Furby. We’ll let you decide which device is creepier.

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