This year's robot toys

I'm working on a novel right now in which scroungers build exciting new devices out of really high-tech toys that failed to sell — the favorite being an Elmo doll from 2008 called "Boogie Woogie Elmo" that can learn to dance by watching you (this turns out to be a great tool for clustering: install Linux on five or ten of them, teach them to speak and hear several rudimentary commands, and they can drive a car as a cluster of homeostasis-seeking cellular automata).

The Associated Press has an article on this year's robotic toys — new Furbies and Elmos and such — imagine what a boon these things will be to assemblage sculptors in five years when they can be had for a nickel apiece and when someone's standardized a GNU/Linux distro for each.

Pixel Chix from Mattel. The handheld gadget in the shape of a house lets a child interact with an animated girlfriend and will retail for $30.

Winnie the Pooh or Elmo Knows Your Name from Mattel's Fisher-Price. A doll that can learn a child's name and other personal details, such as a birthday and favorite games, is programmed by the parents. Using a cable connection and a CD-ROM, parents can download information into the characters, which will be priced at $40.

Furby (a new version) from Hasbro. The toy's new technology is called emotronics, which supposedly brings the plush toy more to life because it speaks interactively with the child and reacts to words like "hungry." All this for a mere $40.

Amazing Amanda from Playmates Toys. The 21-inch doll can recognize her "mommy's" voice and respond after hearing it just three times. The doll should cost around $100.