Fuse Friend Furby Gets A Revamp

One of our sessions at Fuse 2012 focused on "Designing Emotion" with Caleb Chung, Creator, inventor, Pleo and Furby and we definitely heard many tales of connecting to consumers through emotion throughout the three days of this year's event: from storytelling with Joe Sabia to finding emotional connections to the industrial design of candy packages with Justin Coble of Mars Chocolates.

 Therefore, I was interested to see that Hasbro is once more relaunching the toy: this time with some updated features for our digital world. This video from Engadget gives you a sneak peek of the little creatures:
 
The Engadget author immediately writes of an emotional reaction to the toy in describing first impressions:
"Those big, white, glowing eyes get you immediately. In place of those familiar plastic spheres are two big LCDs that comprise roughly a third of Furby's body. The new eyes significantly contribute to Furby's range of emotions, allowing Hasbro to design different dot matrix pupils for different moods like anger and innocence."
(One other fun note for the Fuse crowd: Furby kept one design feature as it's own sort of 'jewel': "In the middle of its forehead is a black marking -- it doesn't actually serve a particular function, instead serving as a "legacy" design, where the toy's IR sensors once lived.")

Will audiences react fondly towards this new, more digital Furby? Has Hasbro managed to marry an emotional connection with some neat new smartphone & tablet tie-ins? Or are those big robot eyes a little too 'uncanny valley'? I guess we'll see this Fall when it hits stores.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com



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