Introduction: Furby Hijack

I took control of a furby's body using a PIC16F877 microcomputer. Videos on last step.

The furby's in-built sensors and actuators:
light sensor,
IR sensor,
IR transmitter,
tongue touch sensor,
belly touch sensor,
microphone,
speaker.

The furby's main (and only) motor was dead, so I added other motors.

Step 1: Skin the Bastard

Skin the furby (yank its skin up over the top of its head). You'll have to clip a ziptie at the base of the back of its skin first then you'll have to clip little stiches connecting the skin around the face area.

Once it's off you'll see connectors on the left and right of the furbies body, these are the wires connected to all the sensors. You should even see written next to some of the wire connections 'S1' 'S2' (sensor 1 and sensor 2, etc). Figure out which wires go where.

Above the furby's eyes:
-In the center is a light sensor (changes resistance in response to light)
-On one side of the light sensor is an IR emitter (like on your TV remote)
-On the other side is an IR receiver (like on your TV)

On the furby's sides:
Left:
-wires from the belly touch sensor
-wires from the speaker
Right:
-wires from the tongue touch sensor
-wires from the microphone


solder longer wires onto any sensor wires you want to connect to your PIC, label them.

Step 2: Connect the Sensors

To connect simple touch sensors to your PIC use the first circuit depicted below, the touch sensor is symbolized by the little black arrow (a touch sensor is a simple switch). Your PIC IO line will see low while the touch sensor is open (nonconductive) and will see high when the tocuh sensor is closed (conductive).
So if your touch sensor is 'normally open' (like the tongue and belly sensor on the furby) then you'll want to program your PIC to wait for a high on the IO line (a high signifies the touch sensor has been touched). If you touch sensor is 'normally closed' (like the springy bump sensors I made and will describe later), do the oposite obviously.

To connect a light sensor (a light sensors resistance changes according to the amount of light shining on it) use the second circuit. Connect it to the analog to digital converter (ADC) pin of your PIC. Mess with the potentiometer setting to get the voltage to a range that works with your program.

To connect a small speaker (like the 32ohm one on the furby) to the PIC use either the third or fourth circuit. I used the capacitor circuit initially, and it worked great, til I added motors to the PIC (later step), then for some reason the PIC was having trouble supplying the current needed for the speaker. So the fourth circuit (the one with the transistor) would be better to use cause it wouldn't tax the PIC's power output capabilities.

Step 3: Add Motors

The furby would have been boring just sitting there, unmoving, bleeping its speaker when sensors were activated, so I decided to add two 9v lego motors so that the furby could drive around while sampling its sensors.

To control motors from a PIC (or other microcontroller) one must use an H-bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-bridge). You can build your own using transistors or you can buy an h-bridge IC.

I used an L293 H-Bridge IC to drive the motors, it's a nice small, simple IC. See the diagram below for how the IC works.
As you can see from the table below the diagram, all your PIC has to do to control the motor is to change the high/low states on the DIRA1 and DIRB1 pins to control motor A, and the DIRA2 and DIRB2 pins to control motor B.

Makesure to put a capacitor between the motors' power and ground. A different power supply (higher voltage) from the one that supplies your PIC must be used for the motors. However the grounds should be shared between the two power supplies.
Because motors can cause voltage spikes when turned on and off, make sure to put a capacitor between the motors power and ground. Also put a cap between the PIC power and ground.

Step 4: Add Bump Sensors

Make bump sensors. This step is necessary if your furby will be driving around like mine. These bump sensors will keep the furby from driving endlessly into a wall.

buy some papermate mechanical pencils (as in picture #1)
snap the tip off of one.
yank out the spring (picture #2)
Solder an insulated electrical wire to one end.

get some pipette tips (this is what I used but any number of things could be used) as in picture #3

Get a thin (should fit inside the spring) stiff metal rod. I used a thin metal rod from a broken umbrella I found on the street. Solder an insulated electrical wire to one end (picture #4).

Stick the nonsoldered rod end through the pipette so that about half an inch protrudes (picture #5)

Stick the pipette/rod into the spring and bend the metal rod so that its tip touches the spring around it, and glue the pipette/rod base the the base of the spring (picture #6).

You're done. NOTE: this is a 'normally closed' bump sensor, so your PIC program should be waiting for a 0 on its IO pin to signify a bump (unlike the tongue and belly touch sensors of the furby which signify a touch by a 1 on the PIC IO pin).



Step 5: Write the Code

You'll have to write a program for your PIC to utilize the sensors and everything previously described. You can read my PIC instructables to start learning about how to do this:
Intro to PIC microcontrollers:
https://www.instructables.com/id/EVET56NFS0EP286TGM/
MATLAB to PIC serial control:
https://www.instructables.com/id/EKIIZP9TN2EP286X0W/
Serial Interrupts:
https://www.instructables.com/id/EMVB3KZ5BZEP2872B5/
IO Pin Interrupts
https://www.instructables.com/id/EQQ9CLG3JSES9J7LGF/
PIC Debugging Board
https://www.instructables.com/id/EIEQ1M3XDPEP2874OH/

Step 6: Watch It Go!

Videos of the sensors being tested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_dnJ2Hlq64

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y86M3BMw2z8


Video of the furby on its maiden voyage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y39Z1tolzyc



############################
To learn more about the basics of robotics buy this book:
Mobile Robots
It's the book I started with years ago, still the best starter book.

To learn about PIC microcontrollers here's a Great PIC Intro Book
############################

Comments

author
Mew15845 made it!(author)2016-09-09

I wish someone would make a hack program for furby connect! I want to program japanese into mine!

author
NealKipper made it!(author)2013-09-26

Wow! Intensely scientific!

author
dlfynrdr made it!(author)2009-07-19

I'm sorry, man, but this is just WRONG! You turned poor little Furby into a Borg!!

author
knuffe made it!(author)2011-01-05

Prepare to be assimilated! XD

author
IX+Smith+XI made it!(author)2009-07-19

It not wrong, it just funny.

author
Biggsy made it!(author)2010-02-05

I would have LOVED to see that Voyager eppisode, where Seven of Nine meets Fourthosund and seventy two of one point four billion Furby

author
Derin made it!(author)2009-07-24

It eventually happens to everyone,however it happens mostly to people named Jean-Luc and toys named Furby.

author
hobbles made it!(author)2009-06-24

Whoa ultra furby....

author
sherlocksbumstead made it!(author)2006-12-11

that's pretty awesome, but let's see if we can take it a bit further: CO2 Napalm Paintball Cannon Tazer Infrared ... be creative

author
Fizzxwizz made it!(author)2009-02-06

how about we add some of this on furby?

author
struckbyanarrow made it!(author)2008-03-25

just pick up 2 pneamatic pumps with 2 taser coils and long wires with a very high votage capisiter do the ir hack its on another instructable and figure out the napalm crap by your self "be creative"

author
leevonk made it!(author)2006-12-11

this thing is held together by twist ties, a paintball gun's recoil would probably make it fall apart. tazer would be cool but it would only really work on people with bear feat (I think shoes would be too thick to zap through).

author
Sailor15797 made it!(author)2007-05-05

i once got a furbie from mcdonalds, and my brother smashed it with a hammer

author
supersith22 made it!(author)2009-01-23

my brother could say the same thing lol furbies always freaked me out they're evil you know. nice job making the furby-stein btw

author
GorillazMiko made it!(author)2007-09-20

Holy crap dude, you work so messy!

author
grahamslawson made it!(author)2008-01-03

Mate, you should see my desk.

author
GorillazMiko made it!(author)2008-01-03

Oui mate, shall you take a picture?

author
grahamslawson made it!(author)2009-01-04

Happy new year, one year on and I find this comment lol
I am just getting back into electronics for gcse =/
Good luck if your still active =]

author
instructa-fan made it!(author)2007-03-16

It looks like frankin stein gone wrong! P.S. you're old enough to be on instructables.com and you own a furby?????lol! nothing personal!

author
pAWNage made it!(author)2007-03-17

lol dude what are you talking about furbies frickin rock, you can teach them to swear!!

author
instructa-fan made it!(author)2007-03-18

no shit?! how!!!?

author
Rokko8652 made it!(author)2008-09-08

Actually, not to be a party crapper, but they just have a database of words, they just reveal more words over time, but they may have some of those words in there though....

author
hg341 made it!(author)2007-06-02

yea but you have to say it like 1000mill times lol....

author
evilgenius+398 made it!(author)2008-09-03

wicked how cruel ripping his flesh off over his head

author
diskincluded made it!(author)2007-09-20

Yes, good spelling is the difference between removing your clothes and being chased by an angry furless bear.

author
Dantron made it!(author)2008-07-09

That is ridiculously awesome.

author
codongolev made it!(author)2008-07-10

yes. yes it is.

author
FirstAttempt made it!(author)2008-03-25

Awsome idea, mount this on the Furby - https://www.instructables.com/id/Fireball-Shooter/
lol

author
Shifrin made it!(author)2008-01-05

Ha, this thing is so cool! I wish I was capable of making one of these! That would be awesome... ~Shifrin

author
darth+acexxacer made it!(author)2007-12-17

can i make him say words like "death" and "i will kill you"?

author
knexguy made it!(author)2007-09-10

aargh!!!!!!!! its frankenfurby!!!

author
newkiraj made it!(author)2007-07-07

@mad cat Mine fell to the same fate.... this would've been MUCH cooler tho now all u need to add is a small butane tank, a stove sparker, a electronically controlled valve for the tank, and you have a gaurd for ur room! open the door, and risk 3rd degree burns lol

author
Mad+Cat made it!(author)2007-04-11

Hehe...I put a firework in my Furbie.

author
adamthiede made it!(author)2007-07-05

good job.

author
adamthiede made it!(author)2007-07-05

this is the maddest thing ive ever seen. (besides the banana phone!) Furbys are creepy and should be burned in a bonfire, not given super-sharp sensors and better motors.

author
o.....m......g.....lol%21 made it!(author)2007-06-29

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!1i was right furbies are trying to take over the world!!!! they mustve used computers to get onto hte simpsons!!nooooooooo

author
Pealife made it!(author)2007-06-01

PLS, WHO CAN GIVE ME THE PROGRAMME OF FURBY IN BASCOM. I NEED IT FOR MY LAST YEAR PROJECT. I HAVE TO PROGRAMME THE FURBY AND I'M IN THE CRUCIAL MOMENT NOW. HELP ME OUT PLEASE????

author
MRX2099 made it!(author)2007-05-03

How easy would it be to save the furby skin, to replace back on later , install a motion detector when someone walks by or just moves in the room, and reprogram the chip for like to leave it at home and when someone enters the house it will seem like it is reporting the person to the cops via some wireless interface unless they tell their name, etc, as a fake gaurd for you home or something like that, just to scare a guest entering your home or place in the wife's bathroom when she enters early in the morning to freak her out like its posessed with new saying...

author
leevonk made it!(author)2007-04-02

somebody sent me a message asking about the details of the supplies needed for the furby hijack project. Here's my reply, hope it helps other people with the same question. This applies mostly to those with little experience in electronics or microcomputers:

The furby project isn't very easy if you haven't used microcomputers before. There are many different types of microcomputers, I used the PIC. PICs are hard to learn how to use in a short amount of time. The best microcomputer to start learning with is the basic stamp (that's the one I learned to use first). The problem with the basic stamp is that it's harder to do analog to digital conversions (necssary to read from the furby's light sensor), but other than that, the basic stamp would be fine for the furby project. HEre's where you could get the basic stamp from:
http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=BS1-IC
To program the basic stamp you can either build your own circuit to interface the basic stamp with your PC or you can buy a 'module' that makes programming the stamp easy: http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=27111

if you want to try using a PIC instead of a basic stamp here's where to get it from: go to www.digikey.com and search for PIC16F877-04/P-ND
To program the PIC you'll need a PIC programmer such as this one: http://cgi.ebay.com/USB-PIC-Debugger-Programmer-Microchip-icd2-icd-2-mplab_W0QQitemZ300096357766QQcategoryZ4661QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

here's where to get the motor controller (H-bridge) from: go to www.digikey.com and search for 497-1389-5-ND

For the motors, you can either use lego motors if you have them (that's what I used) or look for good motors here:
www.allelectronics.com
(for instance: http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/DCM-261/400/6-20_VDC_MOTOR,_MABUCHI_FK-280_.html)
make sure that the voltages that the motors need can be supplied by whatever batteries you use.

to make the necessary circuits you'll need a
1) breadboard
http://www.action-electronics.com/breadbrd.htm?zoom_highlight=breadboard
OR
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/PB-1680/search/BREADBOARD,_1680_CONTACTS_.html
2) breadboard hookup wire
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/18RD-100/search/18_GA._RED_HOOK-UP_WIRE,_STR._100"#39;_.html
3) wire wrap sockets
http://www.action-electronics.com/icsockets.htm#Hrww
4) wire wrap wire
http://www.action-electronics.com/pdww.htm#Wire
5) and a wire wrap tool
http://www.action-electronics.com/pdww.htm#Wrap
6) wire wrap perf board
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/PC-4/search/SOLDERABLE_PERF_BOARD_.html
7) a multimeter
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/DVM-810/search/ECONOMY_DIGITAL_MULTIMETER_.html

for more advanced electronics you should have:
8) a soldering iron (may not need it for beginner circuits but it will be useful, especially if you want to make the bump sensor like I did)
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/IR-30/search/30_WATT_SOLDERING_IRON_.html
9) soldering iron stand
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/50B-205/search/SOLDERING_STAND_.html
10) solder
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/SOL-564/search/1_2_LB_ROLL,60_40_SOLDER,_.032"#34;_DIA_.html
11) perf board
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/ECS-1/search/SOLDERABLE_PERF_BOARD,_1_HOLE_PAD_.html
12) DIP sockets
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/ICS-24N/search/24_PIN,_NARROW_DIP_IC_SOCKET_.html
http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/item/ICS-18/search/18_PIN_IC_SOCKET_.html

author
thermitemaster made it!(author)2006-12-07

Hmmm... Funny. I always though fubys were filled with pure evil.

author
SugarTeen52 made it!(author)2007-03-14

Wow, me too. They're pretty scary in some ways.

author
leevonk made it!(author)2006-12-11

I forgot to mention that if you make the first cut in the skin with scissors instead of a sharpened crucifix a howling specter soars out goes up your butt.

author
thermitemaster made it!(author)2006-12-13

ok... good.. those rumors from "Fake science Monthly magazine" were right.

author
robodud3 made it!(author)2007-02-17

where do i get free time and money like that well the parts dont look too exspensive but they could be better spent on somthing like mor electroic parts

author
robbtoberfest made it!(author)2007-01-17

Isn't that what they did to Robocop? That poor bastard.

author
aforsberg made it!(author)2006-11-14

this is pretty cool. but, i need to ask: why? wait: i know this! too mush time on your hands. i know. me too.

author
leevonk made it!(author)2006-12-11

actually I spent some time at work building this. I felt guilty but I spend huge amounts of time at work usually anyway. I had to build this for a robot show that I signed up for without any robots.

author
Dazzaa made it!(author)2006-11-14

Always wanted to see what a furbie looked like underneath

author
pjax made it!(author)2006-11-03

lol. that furby would pass as a LEGO RCX robot. it needs more synergy, more sensor-furby interaction. and don't forget the original purpose of furby... look cute. otherwise you'll just be using its sensors. a lego RIS would have done the same thing

and about those touch sensors. i'm having a hard time picturing how they work. so when it bumps, the metal rod loses contact with the spring? is that it? what if the bump is too hard and the metal rod contacts the other side of the spring?

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