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Big Dose of Reality

Virtual Pet Talks, Sings and Gets Sick

November 19, 1998|BOOTH MOORE

They need "may-may" (love) and "may-lab" (hugs), they "wee-ling" (sing) and "loo-loo" (joke). No, it's not gibberish, it's "Furbish," the native language of Furby, the animatronic pet sure to be on every child's wish list this holiday season.

Tiger Electronics Ltd. has taken the virtual pet trend to another level with this battery-operated plush toy with a vocabulary of 200 words. Furby interacts with the environment through sight, touch, sound and physical orientation. It can move and dance, open and close its eyes, has ears that wiggle and a mouth that moves when speaking.

Furbys, which sell for about $30, can communicate with other Furbys through infrared signals, teaching each other new tricks and songs, and can even catch one another's colds. (Check out Internet collectible sites and you'll see Furbys are already being briskly bought and sold.) And if it all sounds too weird, think of it this way: At least Furby doesn't have to be walked in the middle of the night.

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