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Patent And Technology Partner To The World's Most Successful Companies

Patent And Technology Partner To The World's Most Successful Companies


Halloween Special – Creepy Teardowns

At Chipworks, we run two blogs that are normally more serious in the quest for innovation. Our core audience is typically interested in major design wins for IP licensing or in new technical innovation for competitive benchmarking.

However, this time around we thought we would celebrate Halloween with a look at two of the creepy teardowns that have hit our labs!

Striking fear into the hearts of children by going inside Furbie
Toys like Furbie are interesting because they are new and hot and lead one to believe they are packed with semiconductors. Despite the toy store frenzies, their volume is nowhere near as high as something like a smartphone, so there aren’t typically silicon licensing battles being fought over the sockets.However, we are always on the lookout for innovation, and if the volume is high enough, then there is a chance we may find it.With Furbie, there is something a little creepy about the tagline “a mind of its own.” There is also something a little creepy about those LCD eyes looking at you as you peel away the fur. Furbie also makes a lot of noise. The teardown was done while he was turned on so that we could try and capture the look of those eyes as we did unspeakable things to it. After a time, the little electronic voice sounded like the little gremlin was pleading for help.For those considering buying one, we did take the time to play with it and can attest that the little guy is something kids should love.

Furby Teardown
Furby Teardown image 2

Furby Kreepy Eyes

Furbie Gen 2 – chips cataloged

  • Texas Instruments CD74HC14 chip that TI’s part number decoder indicates as containing six inverting Schmitt
  • Shenzhen LIZA Electronics L24C02B-Si serial EEPROM
  • Global Mixed Mode Technology Inc. AT5561D motor driver
  • Unidentified devices GFI392, GHH393, 40C, M3029
Furbie Circuit Board 1
Furbie Circuit Board 2
Furbie Circuit Board 3

Furby – inside some chips
There are a few devices with no package markings or with ones that we aren’t familiar with, so we did a few device depots to give you an idea of some of the more sophisticated silicon inside the Furby. No, these aren’t the latest ARM Cortex A-series parts, but still quite a lot of logic gates for a (relatively) low cost toy when compared to other electronic gadgets the kids are asking for these days. At right (in order) and based on die markings:

  • GFI392
  • GHH393
  • M3069
  • 40C


Dolls are scary
There. We said it. Everyone with a child who owns a coveted doll knows eventually that half the hair plugs fall out, one of the eyes pops off or droops, and as it gets dirty, the pallor of the skin looks a little (lot) like a zombie. Sure to the child the doll looks as good as the day it was new. But as passers-by in the mall recoil in horror as little Sally walks by clutching her dolly, you can only conclude that…dolls are scary.

Enter Amazing Amanda
Back in 2005, Amazing Amanda hit our lab. If you thought that a regular doll was creepy, this one was even worse; and as you tear one down, it doesn’t get any better.Amazing Amanda was full of chips and she did pretty much everything. When she was released back in 2005, this (link) article summed it up with, “she is a parents worst nightmare.”

She was touted as the most technically advanced toy, and featured voice-recognition and memory chips, sensory technology, and facial animatronics. Everything had chips, from the doll itself to her accessories. Very cool, but with her head off and her ‘guts’ spilled out, also a little creepy.

Amazing Amanda Teardown

Amazing Amanda – chips cataloged

  • Holylite Microelectronics MC-HL5230 RFID device (times 8 )
  • Texas Instruments 43HTR5K-HC374 which decodes to their flip-flop/latch/register family
  • Macronix 29LV320ABTC-7 flash memory
  • Philips 74HC08D unidentified
Amazing Amanda RFID Device

Happy Halloween!  Have a great night out with the kids and be safe!


- Your Friends at Chipworks.