Zhu Zhu Hamsters on Kids and Hackers Wish Lists this Holiday Season?

Zhu Zhu Hamsters on Kids and Hackers Wish Lists this Holiday Season?

Sonia Zjawinski
Sep 28, 2009

Have you heard of the Zhu Zhu Hamster yet? It's supposed to be the Furby/Tickle-Me-Elmo/Tamagotchi of this holiday season and according to some reports it's already sold out and sellers are jacking up prices on sites like Amazon and eBay -- from one Amazon reviewer: "I ordered the Zhu Zhu pets and some accessories from the Amazon vendors because my daughter wanted them for her birthday and our local Wal-Mart wasn't going to have them in-stock until after. My bad! What cost me $179.00 for some Zhu Zhu pets/accessories and shipping would have cost about $30.00 had I waited for Wal-Mart to stock them."

Of course we had to check out this geeky toy for ourselves and discovered that it's basically a stuffed animal on wheels with the brains of a Roomba -- video and a hacking ideas after the jump...

In the video below you get to see how the Zhu Zhu bumps and corrects its way out of an obstacle course. We weren't that impressed until minute 1:19. We don't want to ruin it, but what happens is a rad surprise that smokes the Barbie Corvette.

While the video itself is interesting it's this Amazon review that not only made us LOL, but got us thinking about how this toy may be hacked in the near future.

"Got this today for $8 at Walmart. Super fun and cute for my 2 1/2 year old twins BUT within 20 minutes they removed the heating vent cover and dropped it in my duct work where it is now running around..so keep away from the vents HA!"

First of all, those twins are geniuses to think of their home's heating vents as one large Zhu Zhu hamster trail. We couldn't stop laughing imagining this robotic hamster zipping through the heating vents all day and all night. But then we got to thinking, if this thing works well outside of its tube accessories, how could it be hacked?

One idea was attaching a small video camera to the robo hamsters and sending them into air vents to check for dust build up and other (real) rodents. Or these could easily become interactive cat toys, especially if you attached a cat dancer to the rear end. We could see our felines either being entertained or scared for hours.

Can you guys think of other ways these could be hacked?

(Image: Huffington Post)

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