Reverse Engineering MyKeepon


[qDot] recently got his hands on a MyKeepon toy and after messing with it a bit, decided to tear it down to see what was inside. He had hopes of easily modding the toy, but like most adventures in hacking, things might take a while longer than he first imagined.

In his teardown you can see the various components that make up the MyKeepon, including a trio of motors for movement, along with a series of buttons and a microphone used to interact with the toy. Of course, the part that interested him the most was MyKeepon’s circuit board, since that’s where the real work would begin.

There, he discovered two main processor Padauk processor chips, described as “Field Programmable Processor Arrays” in their data sheets. He says that the brand is well known for lifting text verbatim from PIC data sheets, so he doesn’t have a ton of faith in what’s printed there. Sketchy documentation aside, he poked around on the I2C bus connecting the two chips and was able to sniff a bit of traffic. He is documenting his findings as he goes along, which you can see more of on his Github project site.

He has made a few simple modifications to the toy already, but there’s plenty more to do before he has complete control over it. His work is bound to make tons of MyKeepon fans happy, including our own [Caleb Kraft], whose love for the toy can be seen in the video below taken at last year’s CES.


12 thoughts on “Reverse Engineering MyKeepon

  1. Ah damnit! I’m torn between buying some much wanted electronic components or pre-ordering one of these for myself because I get the feeling it could be one of those must-have christmas toys that sell out quick and then fetch a fortune on eBay.

    Plus I’ve wanted a Keepon ever since I saw it on the short-lived but great Wired magazine tv show 4 years ago:

  2. Keepon was originally designed to be a serious research tool, not a toy in itself but everyone just assumed it to be one. $30000 is quite a lot for a toy so people have been requesting a toy version ever since.

    My guess is that this toy version has none of that original AI but if it has most of the hardware or even similar, people might be able to make it do some interesting stuff. Could (and should) be more open though.

    1. The original was man-in-the-loop control, if I remember correctly. But it also had cameras for eyes, a really spiffy Max/MSP interface, more articulation, etc…

      All things (except the articulation) we can do if we get the I2C comms going. :)

    2. I only found out about My Keepon from this HaD post, did some searching around and found some very disappointed people who believed they were buying the original Keepon Pro.

      I know I shouldn’t be suprised at the stupidity of people but I am and it almost dispairs me, there are many people complaining online that their $40-$50 robot toy doesn’t behave like the original $30,000 Keepon Pro –

      I think I’m going to have to buy a My Keepon, even knowing that its capability is far from the original Keepon Pro, it’s still cute has hell and if the hacking community get into gear there could be some interesting enhancement hacks to perfrom on it.

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