furby autopsy

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My Furby broke. How do I fix my Furby?
We don't know. We've received thousands of emails, and most of them are about reader's broken Furbys. We're surprised Tiger can get away with this -- if these were $30 toasters (that burnt toast, wouldn't heat up, or were broken out of the box) and not Furbys, there would probably be a class action lawsuit by now. But we're not Tiger, we can't help you, and tinkering with Furby may void your warranty. If your Furby breaks, take it back to the store where you bought it, or send it back to Tiger (they may have a replacement/repair fee -- contact them for more info). Here's Tiger's address, from the Furby manual:

Tiger Electronics
980 Woodlands Parkway
Vernon Hills, Illinois 60061 USA

Sorry, we don't know what their phone number is, or whether they're even answering the phone about Furby problems. The official Tiger web site is www.furby.com. The Furby Autopsy is in no way affiliated with Tiger Electronics.

Does Furby Learn?
Given the limited electronics, we really doubt Furby has any capacity to "learn", nor have we seen any behavior to suggest learning capacity. Furby simulates learning by slowly displaying different subsets of its preprogrammed vocabulary and behavior over time. A "newborn" Furby is programmed to use only a portion of its full capabilities initially, and, over time, will slowly change which preprogrammed capabilities it displays. The Furby may also choose to display certain behaviors based on interaction patterns it has experienced--allowing for reinforcement of desired behavior and rewards for "playing nice". Furbies can send IR signals to other Furbies to expose new preprogrammed behavior in them, simulating the sharing of knowledge between Furbies. But as far as we can tell, Furbies do not have the ability to develop new behavior or vocabulary based on their experiences. Everything a Furby can ever do was preprogrammed during design and simply triggered at the appropriate time.

Do you hate Furbys?
Not necessarily.

Does Furby Hear? See?
From what we can tell, only as much as the most basic of protozoa do. He seems to be able to detect a loud sound, but doesn't appear to differentiate between any types or flavors of sound. It appears to be a single bit of digital input to the processor, which represents "any loud sound" (clapping, for example). Furby does not appear to listen to speech, nor does he "learn" new words from humans. His light sensor also only appears to distinguish a single bit of information: bright light or no light at all.

Alas, furby, I knew him, Horatio Why is the plural of "Furby" "Furbys", and not the more correct "Furbies"?
We don't know, it looks funny to us, too. But that's how Tiger spells it...we're just along for the ride.

Do Furbys break often?
Judging from the email we've received so far, we'd have to say "yes". See "My Furby broke..." above.Tiger has apparently been responsive in sending replacement units, but may only do so for people with a valid store receipt. This makes paying a lot of money for a second-hand or gray-market Furby rather risky, in our opinion.

Can a broken Furby really catch fire?
Probably not. It'll just smell really bad. We think the batteries will drain before it generates enough heat to catch fire. Sorry, you won't be accidentally roasting chestnuts on an open Furby this Christmas...

Where can I get a Furby? Where did you get yours? How much was he?
We have no idea where you can get Furbys. We bought ours a month ago at Montgomery Wards, before the Furby hype had taken off. He cost $29.99, the retail price.

Are you aware that the empty furby skin (pictured on the Cause Of Death page) looks a lot like "Dogbert" from Scott Adams' "Dilbert" cartoons?
Yup. Weird, huh? Purely unintentional. Aren't you the same person who saw the face of Mother Theresa in a cinnamon bun?

Are all Furbys the same inside?
We have heard rumors that there are already more than one "generation" of Furbys, with minor differences in plastic coloration and composition, internal layout, etc. Being a new product in rapid production, it is entirely likely that certain optimizations and improvements will be made between production runs of the product. The software may be updated--there is a rumor that the design effort was truncated due to the need to ship in time for Christmas. If there is a quality control or design flaw in the Furby, it will most likely be corrected in a subsequent production run. Another reason to wait a few months after Christmas if you aren't desperate for one.

For more detailed technical information on Furby's inner workings, see the HackFAQ.

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