In Vestimentis Ursum

Robots Revealed! There are robots hiding beneath the fluff.

I've always been curious about stuffed animals that sing, dance, light up, or talk back. There must be a fascinating robot underneath the fur and fluff, right? Surely the robot hiding in the bear's clothing, in vestimentis ursum, is impressive. So: armed with my childish curiousity and the spurious excuse of 'product design research,' I set out to discover what, exactly, these creatures are hiding.

Want to see videos? These are also posted on Instagram, with videos of the robots in action, at @robotsrevealed.

This chicken - and the next - play the Chicken Dance and fling themselves around with abandon. It's much less cute without the feathers.

Chicken Toy
Chicken Toy

This one flings its head back and forth until it knocks itself over.

Chicken Toy
Chicken Toy

This little goat-robot spins its head around and around, so quickly until it falls over.

Goat Toy
Goat Toy

The lab pup rolls, pants, whines, and wheels its way into nightmares.

Hound Dog Toy
Hound Dog Toy

This sad bundle of wires was actually programmable - you could configure it to actually say your child's name in its songs. But who would be so cruel to unleash this on their child?

Scout Dog Toy
Scout Dog Toy

A weird cat; it would purr and meow, and even stretch out to let you rub its belly.

Furry Kitty
Furry Kitty

This deceptive panda looks cuddly, but is full of sensors and circuits.

Panda
Panda
Panda
Panda

Somehow, the world will never tire of making weird robots that YIP! YIP! at you.

Black Puppy
Black Puppy

This litle rabbit has a leash. The creepy robot inside hops and waggles its nose.

Bunny Hops
Bunny Hops
Bunny Hops

This litle piggy went to market, this little piggy was a secret terminator.

Piggy
Piggy
Piggy

Look, these Minion things are creepy under the best of circumstances. The stripped version of this robot still... really looks like a minion, which I think is a testament to how uncanny the regular character is.

Minion Toy
Minion Toy

If you enjoy these dumb robots, you'll probably dig our other projects, like Dumb Cuneiform - a service that takes your tweets and turns them into real cuneiform tablets.

The latest in a long line of robots, disguised as Elmo.

Elmo Naps
Elmo Naps

Is it a wolf pup? Or an amorphous plastic blob?

 Puppy
 Puppy

This terrifying hound dog sings carols, throws its head back, and howwwwwwllls.

Hound Dog Toy
Hound Dog Toy

The chittering squirrel seemed alarmingly anatomical after losing the fur.

squirrel
Scary squirrel

This bunny robot (from 1986) had a disconcerting amount of fur stuck to its robot parts.

Bunny
Scary Bunny

This off-brand birthday bear sings an off-brand birthday song, with its sad candle feebly blinking.

Birthday Bear
Birthday Bear

This Elf/Dog hybrid was weird enough before his snake-spine was exposed.

Elf Dog
Elf Dog

The articulated Care-Bear robot is standing by to take your calls.

CareBear
CareBear

The rabbit robot retains only its puny legs.

Rabbit
Rabbit

Chicken-dancing Elmo is mostly machine. A dancing machine, that is. Ahem.

Elmo as Chicken
Elmo as Chicken

The tufts of fur left on the cat is by far the most disturbing part here, far outweighing the missing legs.

Cat
Cat

The blue creature is just as creepy in the flesh.

Blue guy
Blue guy

The articulated Care-Bear robot is standing by to take your calls.

CareBear
CareBear

While the robot hiding vestimentis ursum is indeed impressive, I'm more interested in the actual toy. Pooh is holding a hand puppet of his friend. Is this toy designed to teach theories of recursion? Is Tigger a meta-toy?

Pooh Puppet
Pooh Puppet

If you enjoy these dumb robots, you'll probably dig our other projects, like Dumb Cuneiform - a service that takes your tweets and turns them into real cuneiform tablets.

The extremely complicated robot hidden inside the yellow bear is the most impressive I've found.

Pooh Bot
Pooh Bot

This teletubby (po, perhaps?) is fittingly vacuous on the inside, too.

Po
Po

Peepers here is one of my absolute favorites.

Peepers
Peepers

Pulling the cord triggers a lullaby. The tension in the pull cord scrunches the body of the panda, like an invisible garbage compactor. One of the more disturbing toys before unwrapping.

Lullaby Panda
Lullaby Panda

Why, oh why, is this dog in a tuxedo? I have no idea.

Tux Puppy
Tux Puppy

The appendages are spring-loaded: when the handcuffs are released, they fling back and trigger a recorded roar.

Fred
Fred

The robot hiding inside Ernie had its wires crossed, and would continuously waggle its 'mouth' during photography.

Ernie
Ernie

Singing Elmo's hidden robot looks suspiciously like a duck to me.

Elmo Sing
Elmo

Rock-n-Roll Elmo has left the building. The guitar looks a bit forlorn, I think.

Elmo Rock
Elmo Rock

Not surprisingly, Tickle-me Elmo consists of a squeeze-activated voicebox and small reciprocating motor.

Tickle-Me Elmo
Tickle-Me Elmo

A rare case when the robot inside looks anything like the fluffy exterior.

Domino Dog
Domino Dog

This robot had lead weights taped to the inside of its legs. Perhaps the early prototypes tipped over? Also of note: this is one of the few toys in which the furry exterior is adhered directly onto the skeleton inside.

Cow
Cowbot

When the button hidden inside the 'paw' is pressed, the robot launches into an extremely loud rendition of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail," while moving the white 'head' up and down. Surprisingly, Peter is a baritone.

Rabbit
Rabbit

Not so big anymore, eh Mr. Bird?

Big Bird
Big Bid

When the white structure at the top is depressed, it triggers a mechanism which actuates the white 'legs.' The robot, playing a recorded laugh, knocks iteslf over.

CareBear
CareBear

The big purple guy is creepy enough, but the proto-Darth Vader hidden underneath is just astounding.

Barney
Barney

New batteries didn't help Alphabet Annie; her alphabet game just wouldn't work.

Alphabet
Alphabet

This singing & dancing robot has some serious hip-shaking moves. Oh, and is it just me, or does anyone else see a bit of Dwight Schrute here?

wolf
wolf

This gloworm's music-box entrails look a bit more disturbing than usual to me.

Worm
Worm

This little robot puppy's ears look like they could pick up shortwave radio.

Dogbot
Dogbot

Liked that? There are lots more weird projects over here.