Toys for AI chatbot?
April 21, 2010 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Help me make my talking deer-billy-bass-whatever toy engage in eerily logical conversation.

I want to make some kind of toy or statue into a chatbot, like this Instructable; for those who don't want to read the link, it's basically a mashup of a free chatbot AI, a text-to-speech program, and one of those toys that takes audio input through an aux. jack and speaks it. However, the toy mentioned in the Instructable (a talking deer head) is too dear (!) at $100. It's surprisingly hard to search Amazon for toys with auxiliary jacks for audio input. I'm sure there is more out there than what I've found.

So, hive mind: what toys or other weird novelty items do you happen to know of that take audio input (assumedly through an aux. jack) that I could use for this project? Alternatively, anyone know of a cheap speaker that is small enough to place inside a stuffed animal?

(This question made me think of Teddy Ruxpin, but that's not an option, as he uses weird cassette tapes, not an aux. jack.)
posted by ollyolly to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

A simple electric motor and a system of cams and gears close the Furby's eyes and mouth, raise its ears, and lift it off the ground in a faux display of mobility.

The originals are still popular with many hackers as they can be dissected and made to do interesting things. In particular, their advanced audio capabilities and various sensory interfaces make them popular with the circuit bending community.
posted by Comrade_robot at 11:08 AM on April 21, 2010

Starting point for a possibly cheaper alternative here:

but you're going to have to put a lot more time and effort into it to get what you want.
posted by de void at 11:12 AM on April 21, 2010

iDog has an AUX input.

But doesn't have a mouth, just the LEDs and a motor for the head and ears.

The penguin might have a beak that moves.

There is also a fish, a turtle and a cat.
posted by chiefthe at 11:27 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I purchased a couple of "Moving Lips speakerphones" from woot as gag gifts for dirt cheap. This has the mouth/lips mechanism, and I don't think it would take much to convert the microphone to an audio input.

That said, I dunno where to buy them now. If you're in the Dallas area, I'd be more than happy to give you the one that I still have.
posted by mattybonez at 12:51 PM on April 21, 2010

I have no info to offer except that I would love one of these.

(since I have no "real" friends...)
posted by The otter lady at 4:06 PM on April 21, 2010

Looks like I'll need to learn some circuit-bending to use these (but that's cool). The Furby link led me to a good resource on that, if anyone's interested.
posted by ollyolly at 5:56 PM on April 21, 2010

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