In "things that we didn't expect ChatGPT to work with," Furby's were near the top of our list. But it seems that a little Raspberry Pi and Python is all that is needed to add a cute face to Skynet's distant relative. This project from Jessica Card merges a skinned Furby with a Raspberry Pi 4 to produce an interactive chat buddy with a voice that reminds us of Resident Evil's Red Queen AI.
i hooked up chatgpt to a furby and I think this may be the start of something bad for humanity pic.twitter.com/jximZe2qeGApril 2, 2023
From 1998 to 2018, Furbies were a popular range of robotic electronic toys that resembled a DNA experiment between a hamster and an owl. Despite this, they were massively popular, and eager makers and hackers just loved to tear them apart for projects. Programmer Jessica Card hooked up the poor creature to a Raspberry Pi and, using a USB microphone and a Python speech recognition module, was able to capture the users' queries. These queries were then sent to OpenAI Whisper speech-to-text library, and then ChatGPT would respond as a text prompt. The text was converted to speech using Narakeet's text-to-speech voice-over library. The audio file is then played back using a USB-powered speaker. The accompanying mouth, eyes and ear movements are controlled using an H bridge motor controller (on the breadboard in the video) to isolate the larger current draw that Furby's motors will require, from the Raspberry Pi.
Card demonstrates how the process works by asking it "Was there a secret plot by Furby's to take over the world?" The question takes a few moments to be answered. This could be due to its reluctance to share its nefarious plans to dominate the planet, or most likely due to the processing and network time involved in sending the message to and from ChatGPT. Furby's reply is succinct: They have plans to take over the world via their "cute and cuddly appearance," and once they have infiltrated the world, they will use their "advanced AI to manipulate and control their owners...until they have complete dominance over humanity."
We've had a little fun with this whole idea. But in all seriousness, this is a great project that shows how the Raspberry Pi can be used to blend old tech with fresh ideas.
I wouldn't want my kid to have any network-connected toys.