Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Big Fun with Furby

One of the best courses at Santa Monica College's Academy of Entertainment and Technology is called ET 11: Computer Skills and Software for Animation and Interactive Media. This course is taught by Ian MacGillivray. One of our assignments was to design a book cover using layers in Adobe Photoshop. I combined the interactive things I felt have influenced me and others: Furby, Sony's PlayStation 2 (PS2), and the Internet. Here's the final result:

Furby book cover design in Adobe Photoshop

To view the full sized image, click
HERE. Sadly, AET never spends the time to place any of its students work online on its website. Many students produced outstanding work the semester I took this course, thanks to Ian, and it is a real shame that this work is not showcased. If anyone from AET has some work they've done and would like to submit it to SAVE SMC, drop me an email and I will try to accommodate you.

In the meantime, it's time to hunt around for a new Furby as mine has seen better days. Since its creation in 1998, Hasbro (through Tiger Electronics) has sold 40 million Furbys worldwide. Not only were there the interactive Furbys, but there were plush versions as well (I still have my black one). According to the official website, "FURBY toys were once banned from the NSA (National Security Agency) in Maryland, because it was said they could 'learn'."

Furbys Then and Now
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Original Furby, Assorted Furbys, Gutted Furby, New Furby

Although a huge fad, the Furby craze died down by 2002. However, in 2005, Hasbro released the new and improved (and larger) Furby, driven by "EMOTO-TRONICS" that consists of an advanced voice recognition system, more expressive emotions, and an expanded "bilingual" vocabulary of Furbish and English. Hasbro boasts that the new Furby has six times the memory of the original one. The new Furbys, much to my disappointment, cannot communicate with its light-sensor driven predecessors.

dah doo-ay wah!
(Furbish for "Big Fun!")
-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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