Hack A Teddy Bear To Say Anything

Bringing Teddy Ruxpin back

Gustavo Huber

In the 1980s, a talking teddy bear called Teddy Ruxpin took the world by storm. Now, Oakland engineer Andrew Langley is bringing Teddy back. He hacked the bear’s circuitry and installed C.H.I.P., the $9 computer that his company, Next Thing, had just crowd-funded. The 1-GHz computer can run text-to-voice algorithms that let the bear read anything.

Stats

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Cost: About $85
  • Difficulty: Medium

Tools + Materials

  • Teddy Ruxpin (make sure the jaw and eye motors still work)
  • Screwdriver
  • Wirecutters
  • Soldering iron
  • C.H.I.P. computer
  • SparkFun Motor Driver, Dual TB6612FNG
  • 3.5 mm audio cable
  • 3.7-volt single-cell Li-po battery

Instructions

motor in the back of a teddy bear
connecting wires in a motor
Wiring Diagram of a motor driver
connecting audio output wires
backside of a motorized teddy bear

This article was originally published in the May/June 2016 issue of Popular Science, under the title “Hack a Teddy Bear to Say Anything.”