Animatronic DJ brings on da funk

Is your child displaying early signs of Sir Mix-A-Lot-like talents? Then you might want to employ a new high-tech toy to help nurture those musical skills. The iZ is a 9-inch, tri-legged fusion of toy and music that lets kids (or adults for that matter) mix their own tunes. The space-age-looking gizmo will be out later this month from Zizzle, a new toy company founded by Furby creator Roger Shiffman.

iZ
Credit: Zizzle

Kids start by pressing iZ's stomach to get the beat going. Once they find a sound they like, they move to iZ's trombone-shaped right ear to add rhythm and turn his left ear to find a musical lead. iZ's eyes even independently rock out to the original tunes created, bouncing up and down independently of one another. Top it all off with a multicolor changing illuminated horn flashing to the beat and you've got yourself one kinetic little contraption.

But iZ also functions as an animatronic interactive speaker, which could make it a banner toy for the MP3 generation. Connect any music source with a standard headphone jack, such as an iPod, Walkman, radio or CD player, and iZ will play your music with his horn flashing lights and his eyes bouncing. And he'll act like a DJ, adding his own commentary to any song. DJ iZ is in the house!

The gadget--which comes in red, green and blue and is expected to cost about $40--will zizzle its way off the shelves at a Sept. 29 launch party at Toys 'R Us Times Square. We'll be watching to see how it does: The same folks who created it conceived of Furby, after all, and that little electronic soft toy sold something like 4 million units in a few months.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.

 

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