• Functional Emotive Real-time Business Interface

    01/08/2019 at 22:25 0 comments

    The FERBI is a modification of Hasbro's 1998 Furby.

    What is it?

    The goal of this project is to put a Furby into a metal box and slap some controls and blinkenlights on it. The end result would be a sort of interface reminiscent of a minicomputer.

    Another goal of this project is to make the Furby modular, which doesn't mean anything other than putting its EEPROM and two daughter boards on interchangeable cards that are linked to the Furby's main board. Why? I dunno, maybe I can figure out how to make custom cards for it. Who knows, maybe if I quit being inept at electronics I could make a 8080 based Furby?

    Why is it called FERBI?

    FERBI is an acronym for Functional Emotive Real-time Business Interface. It's a silly name for a silly concept. Like I'm sure we've all wondered, what if the Furby was an AI computer designed in the early 1960's for use in corporate and government offices? It would be called FERBI, of course! It would be a practical and intelligent computer for a bright new future paved by thinking machines!

    When will it be done?

    I really have no idea. I'm still playing with some ideas. The biggest thing holding me back is time. Parts and nice enclosures aren't cheap, either. I'd like to get it done this year, but we'll see. The project is still in its conceptual stages, but I'm also toying around with Furby motherboards to get a sense of how a Furby changes states and such.

    How did it start?

    What started as a minor set of tweaks has evolved into a fairly involved project that is part satire, part retro-futurism, and part circuit bend. I want to write a fake manual for it similar to an IBM 704 operators guide, but with a fictitious and ridiculous tone.

    As for the way the project will look, I've seen a lot of people make awesome Furby mods that change their physical appearance (everything from dieselpunk to something from Alien), but I wanted to try something really different. So, I decided to make Furby look more like what it really is: a highly specialized computer.

    And of course, what is a Furby mod without a circuit bend? I want to try some new points, but may end up sticking with the well known ones. Not sure yet.