I've recently become interested in the original Teddy Ruxpin that operated by playing 8-track cassette tapes. The 8 channels on the tape were used in a creative way to ensure that Teddy's animation would line up correctly with the audio. This link gives more information on how it's done. It seems like channel 1 is perhaps the channel used for the audio, and the other channels are used for eyes, upper and lower jaw, and whether the audio is supposed to come from Teddy or Grubby (a different toy).

I can find lots of tutorials on hacking Teddy using open-source python libraries, a wi-fi connection, replacing the cassette deck with a microchip, blah blah BLAH. I want to create my own Teddy Ruxpin cassette tape that can be inserted into the toy like one of their own tapes and will animate according to my coding.

I can't find any information on how the animation channels were specifically used to determine the mouth and eye movements, however. What do you guys think? Is there an easy way to find this out? And if not, what's the best way to get to work understanding it myself? What kind of equipment is good for editing individual tracks on an 8-track cassette tape, and where could I get it?

  • 1
    FYI: 8-track tapes used for distributing pre-recorded music were an adaptation of the A-size NAB Cartridges (a.k.a., "A carts") that were ubiquitous in radio stations throughout the 2nd half of the 20th century. I never personally saw an 8-track recorder for sale or blank tapes for sale, but the Wikipedia article seems to show that they were a thing. – Solomon Slow Mar 16 at 19:13
  • Teddy Ruxpin did not use 8-track tapes but rather 2-channel cassette tapes similar to standard cassette tapes on the market. The were slightly different so that you could not put them in on "Side B". One channel had the audio and the other had tone-encoded commands that worked the animation. 8-track tape recorders and blank tapes were available in the 60's and 70's but they were not all that popular and were soon replaced by cassette recorders. – jwh20 Mar 16 at 23:04
  • Oh, okay, I see I mixed those up. So this type of cassette tape should be easier to replicate then because machines to record them were more common? Also: I did see YouTube demos of vintage Teddy Ruxpins that stated the tapes could be put in on Side A or Side B, but one side was the side it was meant to be used with and would be much better. – ribs2spare Mar 17 at 14:09

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