Talk-To-Me Elmo

Tickle Me Elmo walkie talkie smart assistant alexa siri plush toy teddy ruxbin electronics dave delisle davesgeekyideas 2020

For years I thought it would be fun to embed a smart assistant like Siri or Alexa into a plush toy like Teddy Ruxpin so a child can converse endlessly with a character they enjoy. However I was not comfortable with all the electronics that would be inside the plush toy, or the upkeep that would be needed (like charging the battery or cleaning the plush toy).

I feel it would be best if all of the electronics were completely separated from the plush toy, and placed in a walkie-talkie that the child can interact with. The plush toy would be holding a walkie-talkie too, but it would have no electronics, it is just a prop. The battery, speaker, microphone — everything needed to engage with a smart assistant is in the main walkie-talkie.

As for the smart assistant, I’m not sure if Siri or Alexa can be given the helium treatment to sound like Elmo, or if the character’s voice actor would need to record new dialogue, but either way the voice is a very important feature for this toy, it is the main selling point after all.

Ideally a child can have entire conversations with Elmo, play games, or even be quizzed for an educational aspect. The sky’s the limit with smart assistants, although this one would need parental controls obviously.

Mirror Mirror Personal Assistant

HUD mirror mirror fairy tale personal assitant Alexa siri gadget 2019 dave delisle davesgeekyideas daves geeky ideas

Here is another design using¬†Heads-Up Display technology (more on that here), a personal assistant based on the mirror from Snow White. This was inspired by a recent episode of Black Mirror that featured an interactive toy with an emotive face. Why isn’t there a personal assistant with an animated face?

Magic 8-Ball Personal Assistant

magic-8-ball-alexa-siri-assistant-echo-show-design-clock-2019-dave-delisle-davesgeekyideas-daves-geeky-ideas

The Magic 8-Ball is a toy that people interacted with much like they would with today’s personal assistants Alexa or Siri; they asked questions, the 8-Ball provided answers, albeit random ones.¬†Amazon’s Echo Spot devices inspired me to draw up this design.

Apple Siri Screen

Apple Siri Screen design by Dave Delisle

Amazon recently released the Echo Show, an Alexa assistant with a built-in screen that displays information on demand. If Apple were to release a similar product, they can do no worse than making it look like an 80’s Macintosh computer. Nostalgia is all the rage these days, see the NES Classic or C64 Mini.