Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Nabaztag - 'Son-of-Furby' goes online!
Earlier this year, a few of the geek sites announced the imminent arrival of a weird, glowing, rabbit-like toy. It has just been made available in the UK from Firebox.com.
Nabaztag (Armenian for 'rabbit') is a 20cm tall WiFi-enabled device, designed by two Paris-based entrepeneurs. Under its 'OH SO CUTE!!!' exterior there is a PIC18F6525 microcontroller, a BenQ 802.11b WiFi PCMCIA card, a ml2870a Audio-PCM sound generator, and ADPCM converter, with two motors to activate the ears, a TCL5922 LED controller and some memory.
The embedded software handles the TCP/IP stack and WiFi driver. It also implements a virtual machine which is able to execute up to 64kb of code. A dedicated assembly language exists to program the different features of the device.Currently, Nabaztag is able to sing, talk, flash coloured lights within its translucent body, and move its ears.
Nabaztag connects to the internet via any 802.11 compatible WiFi transceiver, and is programmable via the Nabaztag official website.
Free services include:
Talking Clock: Have the time announced every hour.
Alarm function: Get woken up by your favourite MP3 song. Caution: it will not remain your favourite song for long.
News Headlines: Have the BBC headlines read to you.
Weather Forecast: Local weather reports, complemented by 'appropriate' colours.
Stock Market News: Yep, you guessed it.
Nabaztag Mood: Nabaztag will move his/her/its ears, play music, hoot and whistle, his/her/its body will also display various colours and random pattens of light.
Marriage: Yes, you did read that right. Two Nabaztags can be linked over the internet. Move your Nabaztag's ears and its 'spouse' will too. Make it blink its lights. Speak a message... the possibilities are limited.
E-Mail Alerts: Nabaztag can shout at you each time you get a new email.
Additional services are available for a fee, including RSS feed reading, GoogleTalk alerts and email alerts where the subject line and sender is read out (just imagine the joy of hearing your Nabaztag announcing 'Penis enlargement without surgery' at regular intervals).
There are already a number of sites working on ways to hack Nabaztag, and I will be interested to see if some more original uses can be found for the little toy. Oh, and if you want to see what a Nabaztag looks like 'naked', pay this site a visit.