Reverse engineering the Furby

Furby

Furby teardowns are a favorite of ours, and there’s nothing quite like flaying open a creepy talking deformed animatronic owl/hell beast. There’s a lot you can do with a set of screwdrivers and a pair of scissors, but it takes a real clever person to reverse engineer a Furby without any disassembly (Russian, here’s the translation).

The new Furby comes with an iOS and Android app that allows children to interact with the Furby by feeding it, giving it commands, and even translating the Furbish into English. These apps work by playing a WAV file encoded with commands that give the Furby something to eat, or tell it to dance a merry jig.

Commands are delivered with these WAV files by means of a 4-digit, 4-bit code, complete with checksums. There are ten bits the Furby actually responds on, meaning there are potentially 1024 different commands the Furby can accept.

[iafan] wrote a Perl script to listen in on the audio generated by the Android Furby app and correlated all the possible commands with actions taken by the Furby. Everything is up on a git, allowing anyone to play an audio file and control the Furby’s mood and actions.

With this it should be possible to remotely control a Furby, letting it dance whenever you receive an email, or making it angry whenever someone retweets you. It’s a lot more clever than just putting a Furby through a wood chipper, but considering how creepy these things are, we’re not going to say it’s better.

 

Comments

  1. xorpunk says:

    It takes a real clever person to use IDA and not speak english XD

  2. nigglet says:

    In Mother Russia, Furby gets YOU for christmas.

  3. Bill Gander says:

    Got one for xmas and yeah, there is a lot lacking this gen so hopefully this will open the floodgates. The app was shite and I am glad someone else got up on it. Now if I can just explain to my other gen furby that the baby furby is gone gone gone. They talked once and now it asks “where is baby” everytime it is fired up lol.

  4. Necromant says:

    Never understood what are these thingies for…

    • xorpunk says:

      it’s a little animatron, it has a single chip that has phrases and phrase recognition, along with motor control. Not that interesting really, but it caught on as a consumer trend…

      Most have a blob over the chip..

      • Greenaum says:

        The original at least, was claimed to have some sort of voice-rec, specifically the more you “talk” to it, the more it talks back and the greater it’s vocabulary. It turned out to be bollocks and the thing was just on a timer, it’s vocabulary just unlocked new “words” as time went by. While this one apparently can hear, including voice rec is more than is needed to just create a simple impression of interactivity.

  5. Hirudinea says:

    Haven’t seen a Funzo in ages.

    • NewCommentor says:

      XD i would never own one of those things, i’d have nightmares….

      best to hit em with a ten pound sledgehammer…
      then burn the evilness inside, hopefully the ashes wont spawn a demon-ghost…

      those gremlins never sit right in my head

  6. Galane says:

    The mechanism in the originals was quite simple. It used a single cam gear with levers to move the eyes and beak. Actions could not be done out of sequence.

  7. Jonathan Wilson says:

    I wonder if they still ban the use of these things on airplanes…

  8. adamhixon says:

    I’m surprised that they still make Furbys.

  9. Home page says:

    I just love these things. The problem is, I think I’m the only one in our family who knows how this thing works. :)

  10. Ed Tanner says:

    I was surprised at how fast my 5yr old picked up “Furbish.” The real hack here would be to substitute it’s nonsense WAVs with some useful edutainment, e.g., Chinese, French or laws of physics.

  11. Mary says:

    Just got a new Furby for my doughter… and hate it after few days!
    Lokking for a way to change it in a lovely sweet animal, but unfortunately this is the only post Ifound and still it is not clear to me how to do the ‘reverse engeneering’.. :( someone can help?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92,449 other followers