We've seen a number of frankly odd creations from serial synth scientist Sam Battle of Look Mum No Computer over the years, including a bike/analog synth hybrid and a Jacob's Ladder drum machine. His latest build has been a labor of love for about 7 years, and turns a bunch of cute and cuddly robot toys from the late 1990s into the stuff of horror movie nightmares.
A Furby is an odd creature that's reminiscent of a Gremlin which hasn't been exposed to water or fed after midnight. Its "love me" eyes and ability to communicate helped it become a huge must-have hit in the late 1990s, with tens of millions sold worldwide.
The robot companion starts interacting with its user by speaking a made-up language that slowly progresses to one of 24 actual languages, depending on where the Furby was purchased. And its this ability to communicate vocally that spawned the idea for the Furby Organ – a sort of Furby choir.
Since Battle couldn't get a consistent sound to be produced by the Furbys, he decided to give each one its own synth voice instead, something he calls Furby Formant Fusion Synthesis. Each Furby is connected to two Arduino microcontrollers – one takes care of sequencing and movement while the other gives the creature its voice. Each Furby is wired to control boards mounted inside a ply cabinet in oak finish.
Flicking on the "Collective Awakening Switch" brings the rows of Furbys to life, and amid the seemingly relentless Furby chatter, Battle can create symphonies of synthesized sound by playing the piano keyboard out front. The Furby Organ has a loop feature, 44 tone control dials for each Furby's note output, a knob for changing the output vowel sound, and another for waking up any creatures that doze off.
Battle says that the Furby Organ project has been floating around inside his head since 2011, and now his dream build has been made real. Check out the video below to see and hear the Furby Organ in action.
Source: Look Mum No Computer
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