Artifact Details


Hampton, David oral history

Catalog Number



Moving image


In this oral history interview, David Hampton discusses his career in electronics, software, and toymaking, most especially his experiences with his creation Furby. The interview begins with Hampton recounting his youth and education in Ohio and Michigan. An avid reader, he recalls building his own toys and starting electronics projects in middle school. His immersion in electronics deepened in high school, during which he had a job in television repair. After graduating, Hampton enrolled in the US Navy in 1971 during the Vietnam War. There his electronics career continued, working with aviation electronics in a number of postings. At the end of the 1970s, Hampton left the Navy and began to work in electronics for firms in southern California – a manufacturer of hard drives for submarines and a maker of a handheld barcode scanner. There is became acquainted with microprocessors, integrated circuit technology, and became convinced that software would become increasingly important for inventive systems. To get more experience in software, he took a job with Western Technologies where he would develop games for the Atari 2600, most notably a port of the game Q*bert. After a brief stint with Kaiser, Hampton then joined Mattel’s New Business Concepts operation where he developed a number of new product projects including an electronic See N’ Say, a four rotor toy helicopter, and a VR-like system. Outside of work, he became an avid aviator and studied magic. Hampton left Mattel to form his independent consultancy, Sounds Amazing Design, where he pursued projects for Mattel and Universal Studios. He developed the Geo Safari Talking Globe and also a model trains system with the musician Neil Young. Hampton recounts in detail his motivations for the development of his toy, Furby, as well as the design, prototyping, and production of it. He discusses the business story of the product, as well as the tremendous and diverse reactions to Furby. The interview concludes with Hampton’s discussion of his involvement with Furby products over time, and his most recent efforts in music and artificial intelligence.




Brock, David C., Interviewer
Hapton, David, Interviewee


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA






Oral history

Collection Title

CHM Oral History Collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number


Related Records

102781107 Hampton, David oral history