That's funny. I always think of this comic. He said never trust scientists. One time they tell you to drink 6 cups of water a day.....the next year they say....sorry...shoulda been 3 and should been boiled!
I think in this age where you can buy a singing or talking birthday card, memory is not the limiting factor. This may sound really cynical but I can imagine a group of marketing/management people sitting down with their attorneys discussing the need to be politically correct regarding the "proper" number of cookies to be ingested. I'm sure they assume the child will eat whatever has been counted. Too much sugar--just too much. What would the FDA say? What would the AMA say? How do we handle law suites; i.e. my child is now diabetic? What would "Mothers Against Counted Cookies" (MACC) say? You get the picture. Got to be more than memory. (Again, really cynical.)
In the mid to late 60"s there were many farming areas where crows became a great problem. There was a great deal of interest in hunting crows. I remember crow decoys being sold around my area and blinds being built. There were also, "How To", articles written. I recall one such article telling the shooters that crows could count to three. So if 3 hunters entered a blind and 2 left, the crows would know that there was still one in the blind and they would not approach. However, if 4 entered and 3 left, the crows would think the blind was empty and they would have no qualms about approaching the blind.
Therefore, it is obvious that this thing was either designed by a crow or intended for crows. I am guessing the former because few crows have the money to buy the toy. QED
Oh, I guess nobody heard. Count and Crunch Cookie Monster Upgrade Pack (tm) will be available in time for Easter. Simply log on, enter your CC number, and download numbers 4-6. Enter your email to be notified when 7-9 will be available for pre-purchase.
Up to a number of years ago I designed product for "all the big guys". Over the years I've used just about every "sound chip" available, going back to the early TI days of "real" LPC speech synthesis. I'm also the inventor of the "core IP" for the "singing balloons" you see in the grocery and party stores. I know a little bit about "sound chips" and cheap micros. Knowing the industry (and the way these people think) I'll offer a couple of things:
1.) Doubtful this was an "internal" product idea. It was most likely brought in from an inventor/inventor group and "probably" had a much bigger speech set that was cut back to meet price points. Internally it was most likely deemed that "3" was the magic number. I'm not going to go and do a bunch of research into this product, but it looks like it's made for the toddler crowd that can hardly walk themselves so "3" is plenty. Not everyone has a budding Einstein and this is by no means an "educational" toy; it's a talking stuffed animal, nothing more. I consider it "lucky" that it had a switch to count at all.
2.) $30 retail translates into a $6.00, in the box, landed "all-in" price. It's not rocket science; divide by 5 and that's what the thing HAS to come in at. Plush is expensive; electronics are "cheap".
3.) The licensor (SS) gets a big fat chunk of that price, and let me tell you, you aren't dealing with "Big Bird" here; these guys are brutal. Brutal enough that when licensing "took off" a number of years ago it sent a whole bunch of talented toy designers and inventors looking for other places to put their brain power. The toy manufacturer cuts into the royalty to the inventor to pay for the privledge of using their property
4.) I don't know where everyone got this idea that anything with a micro in it can be "hacked" but sorry, no. These are "masked ROM" chips. You send your sound files to some company in China, they digitize them and "make them fit" on whatever chip the budget can afford. The "memory" is on the device. No chance you're going to "increase" anything unless you want to tear out the existing chip (a C.O.B. BTW) so other than some dangling wires to the speaker and batteries you're not going to be left with much to "hack".
5.) I saw posts referring to "8 bit". Um, no. Most likely this is a Sonix device (or whatever the flavor of the week is today). These are 4 bit devices with a 6kHz "digitize" rate. The device is rated for some "speech" or "voice" time" like 3,6,9, etc seconds @ 6kHz. for "historical" reasons (look up "telephone voice quality" if you care). You can "speed up or slow down" the digitize rate to some other sample rate, at the expense of speech memory. IOW if you use a "10 second chip" that's @6kHz. If you go to 12kHz you get 5 seconds. But you damn well better have a really good reason to do it. Most manufacturers could care less about "sound quality" as long as it's "recognizable". Given "Cookie Monsters" distorted voice to begin with I bet they used a 3 or 6 second chip (at best).
6.) Someone on this list of comments couldn't help themselves from throwing out propaganda nonsense by stating the use of "recycled materials" and being "harmful for kids" (and can't spell as well). Good luck with that. Contrary to what certain groups want you to think, toys go through some of the most stringent tests there are. When "lead" shows up (or some other thing) someone (SOMEONE) "inside" knew about it and threw the manufacturer under the (Barbie) bus.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.