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ChouChou Electric Butterfly – weirdly-realistic fluttering butterflies in jars

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November 29, 2010

The Swallowtail and Monarch versions of My Butterfly

The Swallowtail and Monarch versions of My Butterfly

Image Gallery (3 images)

“Robobutterfly” may not have quite the same coolness factor as words like Robocop, Robowrestler, or even Robogecko. The fact is, however, you can now buy your own flying mechanical butterfly, and it looks pretty impressive. Marketed in Japan as the ChouChou Electric Butterfly, the fluttering electric bug-in-a-mason-jar was unveiled at this year’s Tokyo Toy Show and this month it became available to the public.

To activate the ChouChou, you tap the top of its jar. The butterfly then proceeds to flutter around in a seemingly random fashion, even stopping for very realistic-looking wing-heaving breaks before continuing to attempt escape from its transparent prison. Although the manufacturer isn’t volunteering an explanation of just how the thing works, online retailer Firebox has noted that the lid takes two AA batteries, and a thin wire extends down into the jar. While the flying action is indeed quite lifelike, the video posted by Firebox (not the video below) reveals that the butterfly does emit a slight electronic buzzing sound when it’s in action.

The Blue Morpho version of My Butterfly

Marketed in the UK as My Butterfly, the ChouChou comes in Monarch, Yellow Swallowtail, Pink Morpho and Blue Morpho versions. There’s also a plastic-jar version for kids. It’s available to UK residents for GBP19.99 (including shipping), and is sold internationally for US$46 (plus $25 shipping) by Japan Trend Shop.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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7 Comments

I guess they don't want anyone in the US to have one. $46 $25 for shipping! Yikes!

Joe Sobotka
30th November, 2010 @ 12:00 pm PST

I saw these in the toy stores over here in Japan... didn't realize they were such a big deal as to land a spot on Gizmag!

Doc R

Okinawa

Matt Rings
30th November, 2010 @ 11:07 pm PST

Just ordered one for my wife...butterfly nut... but head on over toe www.gadgetsandgizmo's.com... based in New York so no international shipping... $24.96 for the toy and $9.55 for UPS ground... $34.54 out the door (shiped to Detroit Area)

GadgetGeek
1st December, 2010 @ 07:22 am PST

These are available now in the US under the name "Butterfly Collection" at all Cracker Barrel stores and certain Lowe's stores for only $14.99. Also on Amazon at a slightly higher price.

TSS
1st December, 2010 @ 01:06 pm PST

Is it just me or is there something slightly sad about seeing a butterfly, albeit a roboflyer, trapped in jar. What happens if you take the lid off?

Jaroslav Boublik
1st December, 2010 @ 07:06 pm PST

Would love to know how they did this!! is there a fan in the lid or something?? Anyone hacked one yet and willing to spill the beans?

agulesin
5th January, 2011 @ 07:35 am PST

^^ i have one.

one side of the butterfly's wings is attached by tape to the very thin wire.

I would imagine the motor inside the lid spins the wire making the butterfly spin and look like it's flapping its wings to fly.

I am yet to video it in high speed slow motion to see if it actually flaps up and down or just spins it.

the tapping command (2 taps to flutter, 3 taps to fly) dont really work very well but it does disrupt it when you tap and it does something.

I really like mine!

Muscleflex
10th January, 2011 @ 05:53 am PST
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