Well, I did it. I conquered my childhood fear of talking bears and brought a vintage Teddy Ruxpin animatronic stuffed bear into my home. There were and still are plenty of his brethren both young and old to choose from on the auction sites, and when I saw this particularly carefree barefoot Teddy in his Hawaiian shirt and no pants, I was almost totally disarmed. Plus, the description promised a semi-working unit with a distorted voice, and who among us could resist a specimen in such condition? Maybe the tape deck motor is going out, or it just needs a new belt. Maybe the tape itself messed up, and Teddy is fine. I had to find out.
But let me back up a bit. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Teddy Ruxpin was a revolutionary toy that dropped in 1985. It’s a talking teddy bear that reads stories aloud, all the while moving his eyes and mouth to the sounds. Along with Teddy came special cassette tapes, corresponding story books, and outfits. I wanted one when I was a kid, but was also kind of scared of them. Since they were so expensive — about $250 inflation-adjusted for the bear and a single tape / book / outfit, plus another $15 for four D cells — I never did get one in my youth.
Continue reading “Teardown: How Many Teddy Ruxpins Does It Take To Start A Coven?”
In the United States, TV and radio stations have to give the opportunity of equal airtime to all candidates. In that spirit, we thought we should show you [Jayden17’s] hack that puts Google Assistant into a Teddy Ruxpin. You can see the hacked bear do its thing in the video below.
Teddy was the best-selling toy for 1985 and 1986, and is still available, so over 30 years there are a lot of these hanging around. If you never looked at how they work, the original ones were quite simple. A cassette player routed one stereo channel to a speaker and used the other channel to control servo motors to move the mouth and eyes. The cassette was eventually replaced with a digital cartridge, and newer versions of Teddy only use two motors instead of the three in the original.
Continue reading “Teddy Ruxpin: Navigate To 143 Main Street”
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.
Continue reading “Raspberry Pi And Alexa Make Teddy Ruxpin Smarter Than The Average Bear”
[DJ Sures] got his hands on a broken Teddy Ruxpin doll and decided to give it a new robotic life. You may want to ask the children to leave the room before viewing the video after the break. It starts right off with little Teddy having his throat slashed in order to get at the parts in the head. After retrofitting the eyes, mouth, neck, and arms with servos, Teddy gets a Bluetooth upgrade that lets you control his movements wirelessly. [DJ Sures] even has plans to get the little guy up and walking, far exceeding the original capabilities.
Continue reading “Hacking Teddy Ruxpin”