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Looney Tunes' Instant Messaging Buddies Debut On AOL

AOL is promoting its new chat-enhanced toys, which work in tandem with AOL Instant Messenger (AOL IM) to "speak" messages out loud as they're sent from someone else's computer. The toys, which are called Instant Messaging Buddies, also move animatronically in real-time when activated. The first buddies to be introduced are the Looney Tunes' characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Using technology developed by United Internet Technologies (UIT), each IM Buddy has over 150 pre-recorded phrases and speaks in their actual character voices. The toys are activated via a light-sensor, which reacts to embedded digital triggers in the software. AOL will make the interactive buddies exclusively available to its members through December 31, 2002 on AOL Shopping for US$39.95 per pair. They will be available in stores nationwide in 2003.