[FoRK] Commercial version of Dourish's hacked Barney

Damien Morton fork
Thu Nov 17 18:26:12 PST 2005

Im pretty sure I wouldnt want my kids teddy bear teaching steven segal 
style aiki-juitsu and such.

> Doesn't anyone else keep thinking "A young ladies illustrated primer" 
> every time something like this is discussed?
> sdw
> Ken Meltsner wrote:
>> Several years ago, PARC's Paul Dourish (now at the center of
>> FoRK-based computer science, UCIrvine) hacked a Microsoft-driven
>> Barney doll and turned it into a remotely controlled network
>> peripheral (SWEETPEA [1]).  CHI paper reviewers were split as to
>> whether the effort constituted "real" research, or was just a good
>> hack.
>> A French company is now selling a simpler (but commercial) version:
>> http://www.nabaztag.com/vl/FR/index.jsp
>> " I'm a newborn bunny, one of a unique species of intelligent, smart
>> objects. I'm 23 cm tall, I wriggle my ears, I sing, I talk and my body
>> lights up and pulsates with hundreds of colours. Thanks to Wi-Fi
>> technology, I'm always connected to the Internet."
>> See also the cool folks at Ambient Technology[2], which sells
>> pager-controlled "orbs" and analog dashboard dials.
>> Ken
>> [1] Software Tools for Programmable Embodied Agents:
>> http://www.dourish.com/barney/
>> [2] http://www.ambientdevices.com [not responding right now -- must be
>> a bit too ambient out)
>> http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/electronic/5da2/ The original Orb
>> http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/electronic/767e/ Weather display version
>> http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/electronic/732d/ Pre-production
>> analog meter version
>> Excerpt:
>> "...Microsoft Barney is a plush purple dinosar that can talk, sing,
>> and play games. Barney can also be controlled by an RF device that
>> plugs into your television set or PC and can pick up instructions
>> striped on the TV signal or encoded in the software to control the
>> child's toy. In many ways, Barney offers even more potential that
>> Barbie since Barney also has input sensors (in his paws and a
>> light-sensor behind his eyes) and can move his limbs.
>> "... With a couple of Barney dolls, a PC, a pile of Barney
>> applications and a smart student intern, we set about experimentally
>> determining the protocol by which Barney was controlled. By the end of
>> the summer, after much work, we had a student who could sing all the
>> Barney songs backwards, and a pile of software.
>> "The end result is the 'Barney Protocol Stack,' a set of software
>> components that applications can use to drive Barney. The basic Barney
>> control mechanism is implemented as a Delphi component. It can be
>> driven directly via an on-screen control panel, to move Barney around,
>> play sound samples or read his sensors. Alternatively, it can listen
>> on a network socket for remote control connections. The remote
>> interface allows applications to be written that talk to a remote
>> Barney server; you can telnet to Barney (which is more than I can do
>> to my NT box). This network protocol level is wrapped up by a Java
>> class called BarneyConnection, which offers facilities to move
>> Barney's arms and legs and register to be informed when his sensors
>> are activated.
>> "Using the Barney Protocol Stack, we built a number of applications
>> for Barney. Some were simply feedback applications, that would tell
>> you the progess of activities such as printing your document. Some
>> were monitoring applications that revealed the state of other systems,
>> such as the current network status. Some were communicative
>> applications, such as one which allowed two people to communicate
>> through 'Barney semaphore...'"
>> -- 
>> Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but model train sets do a pretty
>> good job as well
>> -- 2/28/05, in a odd dream
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