The Toy Stories … Aibo and Furby


Sony has decided that AIBO the Robot Dog needs to go to dog heaven to play with other pooches. Jeff Pulver must be quite upset. Maybe eBay can make AIBO item of the day? Anyway those looking for new toys, will have to wait for u Gobe to come up with something. Silicon Beat reports that toy inventor Caleb Chung, the creator of Furby and Gordon Radley of Lucas Films have started this toy company. In true Silicon Valley vapor ware fashion, uGobe the claim of CC being an inventor of Furby might not be true. An old CNN transcript says the inventor of Furby is Dave Hampton, who after coming up with the idea met with”toy maker Roger Schiffman of Tiger Electronics.” Rest is history – not a pleasant one from those who are sans tots, spouses and enjoy a narcissistic lifestyle.


alex chan

re: Jesse Kopelman’s question – I think there is a third factor – the refiner. T

he inventor can come up with real good idea ( in this case – a strong “fun” factor ) , the creator can assemble / wield / join / glue material to create a physical product. But it will take an engineering discipline ( mostly from an engineer but not limited to ) to keep refining the process to make the product a feasible product ( acceptable cost of manufacturing in relations to the potential revenue, real life performance, durability ). To make it a success you need all three ( I believe if you have a really good product you do not need much marketing – maybe just a little, but it should sell itself )

Caleb Chung

After the Toy Fair in February ’97, Dave Hampton and I decided to collaborate on a project. We had known each other at Mattel and had both been independent developers for many years. We worked through the summer and fall of ’97 and finally took Furby to Tiger with the help of Richard Levy. At the end of the day, we were the co-inventors of Furby. I focused on the creature design and mechanical and Dave focused on the electronics and programming.

Jesse Kopelman

My engineer’s perspective on this is that inventor does not equal creator. The inventor comes up with a working idea, the creator is the guy who has to take that idea and turn into a product. Maybe, this is the case here?

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