This YouTuber might have just opened a portal to hell by rewiring dozens of Furbies to create a haunting “Furby Organ”
Like every other ten-year-old in the UK, I desperately wanted a Furby in the late 1990s. Unfortunately, I didn’t get one. Well, I did, but only three years later, by which point speaking “Furbish” to a toy wasn’t top of my list of priorities.
One thing I never thought to do, though, was to collect a whole bunch of Furbies and turn them into an organ. Such an amateur.
Youtuber Sam Battle, who runs the channel Look Mum No Computer, has done what I should have. He’s created a kind of Moog synthesiser adorned with a choir of Furbies, if you like.
Inspired by the Circuit bent mechanical Furby sequencer, Battle drew his first sketches of the Furby keyboard more than six years ago, and now the instrument is a reality, as revealed in his latest video.
Each of the Furbies has been modified so that it can produce a single note, which Battle calls the ‘Formant Furby fusion synthesis brain modification surgery procedure’. Although this sounds pretty ludicrous (I think that’s kind of the point), what he’s done is actually quite impressive from an engineering standpoint.
As he explains in his earlier ‘Building it’ video, every Furby is allocated two Arduino microcontrollers, one that sequences “certain parts within the Furby” and another that adds “a formant note to make it sound like it’s singing a vowel in the back of its throat”.
“This has taken me quite a while to solder, and it nearly broke me,” he adds in a throwaway comment, but it’s clear there’s some truth to this when he reveals the overwhelming maze of wiring in the back of the organ in the final video.
Thanks to his tweaks, Battle can wake all the Furbies using a single switch, but there are other slightly more sinister functions like the “Loop/freeze” switch, which makes the Furbies sound like a broken record, or like they’ve been possessed by an otherworldly being, depending on your viewpoint.
Thanks to the separate microcontrollers, even when Battle plays different notes on the keyboard, the Furbies carry on speaking among themselves, which sounds as disturbing as you might imagine.
At the time of writing, the video’s already amassed an impressive 500,000 views and the top comments make for some pretty entertaining reading.
“Who thinks of this kind of stuff?”, says YouTube user Herbert, while another, Top 10, says “I feel like he is going to inadvertently open the gates of hell by doing this.”
It’s hard to know how to feel after watching a cacophony of singing Furbies, so I guess you’ll have to just go ahead and see for yourself. While you’re there, you might as well also listen to the power ballad Africa being played by the Floppotron.