Raspberry Pi and Alexa Make Teddy Ruxpin Smarter than the Average Bear

Behold the unholy union of Amazon’s Alexa and that feature-limited animatronic bear from the 80s, Teddy Ruxpin. Alexa Ruxpin?

As if stuffing Alexa inside a talking fish weren’t bad enough, now Amazon’s virtual assistant can talk to you through the creepy retro plush thanks to [Tinkernut]’s trip down memory lane. Having located a Teddy Ruxpin on eBay for far less than the original $70 that priced it out from under his childhood Christmas tree, [Tinkernut] quickly learned that major surgery would be necessary to revive the Ruxpin. The first video below shows the original servos being gutted and modern micro servos grafted in, allowing control of the mouth, eyes, and nose via an Arduino.

With the bear once again in control of its faculties, [Tinkernut] embarked on giving it something to talk about. A Raspberry Pi running AlexaPi joined the bear’s recently vacated thorax with the audio output split between the bear’s speaker and the analog input on the Arduino. The result is a reasonable animation, although we’d say a little tweaking of the Arduino script might help the syncing. And those eyes and that nose really need to get into the game as well. But not a bad start at all.

This isn’t the first time that Teddy Ruxpin has gone under the knife in the name of hacks, and it likely won’t be the last. And the way toy manufacturers are going, they might just beat us hackers to the punch.

8 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi and Alexa Make Teddy Ruxpin Smarter than the Average Bear

    1. This is why I’d probably try to use a Teensy, the audio stuff that PJRC has made for it would make it possible to do some filtering to change the pitch and make a nicely artificial deeper voice for it.

      I’d also change how he hooked the audio to the arduino. Which might be fine, but it does mean there will be negative voltages applied to the analog pin. Instead if you put a capacitor to AC couple the audio coming in, and then two equal resistors to bias it halfway between 5V and GND, you’ll get a cleaner signal coming in. Just like the first part of this circuit, https://i.stack.imgur.com/q6KOQ.jpg

      You could also then add diodes to clamp the voltage but that’s probably overkill for this given the signal source.

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