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Topic: Valentine's Day project - Animatronic stuffed animal - Need ideas (Read 2 times) previous topic - next topic


Feb 12, 2013, 05:05 pm Last Edit: Feb 13, 2013, 01:38 pm by Retroplayer Reason: 1
Taking a break from my other project and working on a Valentine's day project for my girlfriend. Just looking for ideas and suggestions for features to add...

The background:
I have the guts from an old Winnie the Pooh "Read with me!" toy. The mechanism will be installed inside another stuffed animal.

He was designed to open and close a book, and to move his mouth. Originally, he had cartridges that you plugged into the book to have him read different books. In his head is also an IR receiver for some unknown (future) purpose. Obviously, as these toys go, no other carts or peripherals were ever made. Anyway, I am not using him as designed. I stripped him to his bare guts.

What I am planning is to have him open a valentines day card and read it upon power up. I would also like him to sing "our" song. But looking for other suggestions of what I could do with this.

The peripherals I currently have at my disposal:

    A button switch that is sewn into him (I forget where, but I could install it anywhere as well as other switches/sensors as needed.)
    An IR receiver in his forehead
    An MP3 module that plays from a SD card, easy to use


    I have written the code to open/close the book (which also tilts his head down when the book is open or up when it is closed) The book mechanism has limit switches that I can use to sense whether it is opened or closed.

    I have written the code to run the mouth. There are no switches or other feedback here. COntinuing to run the motor, just cycles the mouth. I will be adding switches to sense the open and closed positions for more control.

    I have written the code to control the MP3 module and am currently working on wrapping that into a library.

Control details:

He is designed so that moving the motor in forward direction opens/closes the book and moving in reverse runs the mouth.

There are holes where the eyes will be that I could install sensors, IR LEDs, etc.. There is also plenty of room inside the head shell for anything I want to add.

Control of movements will be done by adding signals into the Left audio tracks of the MP3s.

The whole mechanism goes down just under his arms, and there is a battery box and on/off switch that gets installed in butt. But I have plenty of room for anything else within the torso box where the original electronics were stored.

It has an IR receiver in the forehead, but no IR leds. No idea what the original purpose was for as it wasn't used. One idea is to add IR LEDs to the eyes transmitting 180 degree out of phase signals. That would reflect off of objects and allow sensing of motion. 

Great ideas/suggestions may involve adding hardware... no problem. I don't HAVE to have it completely done by valentine's day (and probably won't), but that would be cool. I would rather it be impressive/useful than have it done half-arsed, but on-time.

Hardware is not an issue. I build stuff like this for children's museuems as a consultant, so I have thousands of parts. So go wild with your imagination, please. I want this to be something she would enjoy, not just a valentine's day gimmick.

Some ideas that I have are to say "good night" to her when she goes to sleep, "good morning", etc... not sure how I would realistically do that, though. Rough ideas for "hidden" things that she may discover by playing around with it (tilt sensors, etc..)

I've attached pictures of the guts. Also, feel free to ask any questions about it.

Here is a list of great ideas suggested so far:

    RTC to trigger on special events, recognize bed time/morning, etc...
    LDR sensor to sense the light in the room
    Use the IR receiver to interface with a remote
    Provide some control to swaying side to side/etc...
    Voice recognition

Still looking for more ideas and suggestions...


Feb 12, 2013, 05:50 pm Last Edit: Feb 13, 2013, 01:54 pm by Retroplayer Reason: 1
BTW, the MP3 module is an MD-FLY. Very easy commands, but I intend to throw together a library for it anyway since I didn't find one. Would be useful to me later since I have several of these boards.

One thing I can't do with this module is read a text file (or any file besides an MP3) which would store the animation commands. But, it does play stereo and I only need need mono. My plan is to set it up so that I have the audio on the right channel, and encoded control data on the left channel.

I think that the code, circuit, and encoder program would be useful for other projects and to other people. So I will be posting that once it is complete.

I attached the spec sheet for the MP3 module. The audio power at full volume is 200mVpp so an amplifier will be needed for a decent volume on a speaker.


Anything we can think of, because I see a great holloween decoration. Puts some tank treads or even spider legs, and tweak the MP3 sounds, and you got one hell of a holloween decoration.
Created Libraries:
TFT_Extension, OneWireKeypad, SerialServo, (UPD)WiiClassicController, VWID


Anything we can think of, because I see a great holloween decoration. Puts some tank treads or even spider legs, and tweak the MP3 sounds, and you got one hell of a holloween decoration.

LOL. Plenty of other parts for something like that. I tend to snag up moving or interactive toys at thrift shops, clearance bins, flea markets, etc... so I have lots of stuff similar to this. This one was chosen for the valentines day present only because the opening and closing arms are perfect for a valentine's day card.


I attached a picture of what I started out with. He is the Winnie the Pooh "Read with me" stuffed toy, if anyone is interested. Made in 2000, so you won't find him in stores. I found a few on ebay but they are more than *I* would pay for one, though. lol

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