Caleb Chung – Pleo

Caleb Chung Giving Toys is his company. Used to work at Mattel. He did a lot of toys, most did not go, 1 out of 20 or 30 would go live. Showing a lot of funny demos of various toys that didn’t go, like the flame-throwing tail. Did the McDonald’s cooking toys, which did about 50mm. Eventually left LA and moved to Idaho. Throughout making toys I think there’s a real correlation between art and science, there’s a blend that happens. He was the co-invertor of the Furby, and is about to show a video about its tale.

He was fascinated with film and animatronics. Little artificial life pieces. He worked on Microsoft Barney, it was like a purple dinosaur with bloatware. They decided to make the simplest thing possible with the fewest parts possible and have a little artificial art/life form. He’s going through a slideshow with all of the steps along the way to creating Furby. They would would sneak into HP on the weekends. A friend of a friend worked at the SLA lab at GM. 40 million Furbys (Furbies?) were sold.

Pleo Evolution. Kind of retired, living in Boise on a river, started another company call Toy Innovation. Did a handheld device for teens that hooked up to the internet. Slowed down. Had the old tape of the dinasaur, some other people saw it. They began to try to clone a dinasaur. Picked a Camarasrus because they were so plentiful. The first SLA version they had a cuteness in the dinosaur, the servos had to be shaped like muscles, had a real dedication to be accurate. Hardest part is the skin. 4 years and 10 million dollars later, they now have the Pleo. A very realistic dinosaur that goes through life stages and you can take care of it, they change over item, you take care of them.

It has an open architecture, a USB port and a SD card. You can hack the underlying code to change its homeostatic drives, its personality. There will be drag and drop features for kids.


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