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Dizzy talk

Bottom view   


Between the motors you see a green thing - the battery - with a black device on top: it is a piëzo transducer, Dizzy's `vocal cords'.


A language?

Left on his own, Dizzy quietly keeps an eye on his environment. But when he sees you move around - he is very sensitive to small changes in light level, and will see a slight motion of your hand at a distance of several yards, if he happens to look in the right direction - he'll express his needs and `emotions' using 40 different `words'. There are bird-like chilps, happy laughs, impatient cries, bored dismissals and a few nagging sounds you might expect from a baby.
Most of the time, Dizzy selects sounds more or less at random, but the human brain always looks for patterns of cause and effect; it's easy to get the feeling that he is trying to tell you something. And part of the time, that is perfectly true. This first incarnation uses four words that really mean something:

Words with meaning

When you pick him up, Dizzy will notice and ask to be put on his wheels. He may start his motors and attempt to escape. If you hold him steady when that happens, he'll notice the lack of motion, switch off and emit a sad, complaining cry every five seconds. You'll hear that same cry when he somehow gets stuck while exploring his terrarium.
When Dizzy gets hungry, he will try to find his dining area. If he doesn't succeed before he runs out of energy, he'll stop and call for help, using something like an alarm beep. If he does make contact, but charging the battery takes too long, he'll switch off and call you with a third, more alarming word. (Which has not yet been heard `in the wild'.)
Dizzy's most common cry is a bright yelp when his feelers touch something. He is quiet only when looking for food.

Helping Dizzy when he's upset

In his own environment, Dizzy will talk, eat and move about for weeks and never need your aid. But if he gets stuck, you should pick him up and put him down in a safe corner of his `terrarium'. Then switch him off, wait ten seconds and switch him on again. He'll turn around his top axis to check the light, then do nothing for about 20 seconds. The pause can be used to give him back his shell, if you had to remove it to reach his switch.
If Dizzy runs out of energy while looking for his dining area, he must also be switched off. Put him down close to his charger (but avoid contact between feeler and vertical charge plate) and switch him back on again - he may be able to reach it. If he doesn't even try (immediately starts beeping), you'll have to follow the special procedure used to initially charge the battery.
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