Post by aarontodd82 on Dec 3, 2017 19:16:33 GMT -7
Hello everyone! First post here! Teddy Ruxpin was a favorite toy of mine when I was little, I was very interested in the electronics and mechanics. Teddy along with Show Biz Pizza and The Rock-afire Explosion made me want to get into electronics and now I'm an engineer - although not one that does any animatronics.
As a fun little project I wanted to make him move a little more so I bought a broken Teddy off of eBay (definitely wasn't going to use my Teddy, haha). I modified him to have a neck with 3 degrees of freedom and made his body with 2 dof so that it can Tilt and Roll. I then used a program called VSA to do the animating along with the audio track.
I upgraded the servos in his eyes and mouth and used an external processor to decode the PPM in the original data track. I discovered that there was movements that were encoded that were faster than the original servos were capable of making! I thought that was really cool. That means whoever was doing the puppeteering, probably Ken, had made some movements that we never get to see because he was too quick on the joystick controls. This part isn't perfect yet and there is glitching - I'll get that worked out soon.
This is a work in progress - I want to do more animating and fix him up to look better. I'd love to do this with Grubby and maybe even more of the cast, if I can get a hold of some of the hand puppets to modify. Has anyone ever seen a hand puppet of Newton Gimmick?
What do you all think of the animation programming?
Woah! Really cool!!! It isn't all jacked up and jerky like other mods I've seen. I would advise fixing his sticky eyes, though. And maybe brushing his fur down a little bit, seeing as it's getting a bit...stuck in his eye? Nevertheless, amazing project!!
Last Edit: Dec 3, 2017 20:39:29 GMT -7 by d.ruxpin
I love everything Teddy Ruxpin! I'm a developing collector.
Thanks so much, yes I wanted his movements to be as smooth as his eyes and mouth typically are! These servos are fast, so he could be very jerky, but I wanted his body movements to match so I tried to stay subtle and relaxed - typical Teddy demeanor, haha.
Yes, it's not so much that they're stuck, but the MP3 audio that I'm decoding must not be the cleanest... His eyes work great with other tracks, but I wanted to do "Come Dream With Me Tonight" first. I'm going to get a tape to USB encoder soon so that I can make sure it is as clean as it can possibly be. The eye mechanism that I'm using isn't really capable of getting stuck, the eyes are directly connect to a servo horn, not a rubber wheel like a typical Teddy. Also, he has a lazy eye - that was just the way this Teddy was made.
And I completely agree with you, Teddy's fur is looking pretty ratty! In fact, the back of his head isn't even sewed up yet. I'll get to all of that when I think I'm done tinkering with his head.
Perhaps! My dream would be to make the entire cast so that they can interact during the stories. Maybe put them all on a themed stage! As a side note - does anybody know where I can find out what all hand puppets were made?
But to answer your question, I wouldn't be opposed to building these for some select Teddy fans once I have the kinks all worked out.
This is incredible! I am so happy to see the imagination and love that Teddy Ruxpin and co have given to people of all ages, and then seeing that develop into a passion and creativity to bring more life than there was before! You are very skilled, I’m sure working with technology like this would be challenging, but very rewarding! Keep up the amazing work
Thank you for the kind words of encouragement! I can remember pretending that Teddy would come to life when I was little and dreaming that he would. This project has made me feel fulfilled in some way because in my mind, at least, I gave him a little more life and I hope that I'm doing him justice. As I got a little older I would want to take apart anything that I could get my hands on, just to see how it worked... but Teddy was always off limits in my mind - I didn't want to see. Even still, as I was disassembling this broken eBay Teddy, it almost felt sacrilegious, but it did give me a chance to admire the ingenuity behind those creative engineers of the early 80s that helped bring him to life. I realized that those people who do disassemble and work on him regularly can still experience the magic of Teddy Ruxpin... inside and out!
Post by worldsofwonderfunfan on Dec 5, 2017 18:27:51 GMT -7
i would love to see all the characters if you need any of the puppets I also have a non working teddy and grubby airship display if u are interested.I have a tweeg a l.b. and a purple fob. anyways I would love a teddy like that cause the tj bear hade moving brows movements in neck arms and hands aswell as ears so I don't know why the 2005 or wct 2017 teddy dose not have that feature. But its awesome great work
I just came across your posting. Fabulous job with it. Looks totally professional. I absolutely love it! I got introduced to Teddy right after we emigrated to the USA, in 1985. It was my daughters first Christmas gift in the new country. We were very poor then, but coming from a communist country, I just could not resist the magic of Teddy Ruxpin. It was a long time ago, but I still remember how much joy that bear gave to my daughter. I still have it after all those years. I take him out of storage one in a while just to make his innards to move a bit, just to prevent total freezing up.It is still working well, though he underwent several "operations" by me. It had a broken yaw after a bad fall, several times I had to replace the servos in his head and fix the problems with the casette player. I am very familiar with Teddy's innards and I am aware of all his original design faults. I know it will come a time when I will not be able to fix him up anymore. Sadly. It would be nice if you would have a little write up of what you did with the servos. I have seen a YouTubeVideo about upgrading the servos with current ones. The mechanical part I am OK with, but the electronical is something else.
Post by aarontodd82 on Dec 22, 2017 10:33:56 GMT -7
I'd be happy to share I've got a few days off of work with Christmas and I'll try to do some more videos and maybe write something up. I would like to share the code that I used too.
Just as a small summary until then:
I'm not using any of the original electronics for the eyes and mouth. I wrote code that allows an Arduino processor to interpret the original PPM signals coming from an audio input and translate it into the PWM signals that the servos require. And I built a very simple circuit to accept line-level input into the Arduino - so that any device with a headphone jack can be used as a source, I used my computer's audio output. Arduinos have pre-made libraries that allow PPM decoding and PWM encoding for servos, so it wasn't too much work on me, just connecting the dots. The only issue that I ran into is that I needed to smooth the incoming PPM so that the movements wouldn't be erratic. Since modern servos are so fast, movements would be very glitchy without smoothing them out some, and relying on old analog encoded PPM in the form of an audio track compounds the issue.
I wanted to mention that the original design of the servos using the rubber wheel to interface was so smart of Teddy's engineers. Obviously it was good that the servos wouldn't be put under severe load if there was external pressure on the mouth or eyes. But there is another reason - I have found that the PMM range varies from tape to tape! So using the rubber wheel as an interface to the animated part was genius. It would enable the range to be reset to allow for variations in that range. Think about it - they were using analog tapes as the medium to encode the signal so it would hard for them to get it perfect from tape to tape, there would be variances in recording, playback, etc. But, if the range was different than the last tape played, the wheel would simply push past the physical stop of the eyes or mouth and a new range would be instated. That's brilliant. I'm not sure if I'm describing that clearly or not, haha.
The Teddy that I used only had two rubber wheels. One for the eyes, one for the mouth, because this version was only a two servo Teddy with the jaws connected. I wanted to use three servos, so I sacrificed a rubber wheel from the eyes and used it on the mouth, so that the upper and lower jaw would be independent and have two wheels. Because of that, I had to directly connected the eyes to a servo - I had to JUMP THROUGH HOOPS in the code to make the eyes work right because of the variance - still not happy with it. When I build another, I need to use a three servo version! Haha.
Enough rambling. I'll try to share more specifics soon!