animated yoda toy

Product Website: http://a.co/d/5swSKQ4

Client: Hasbro

Creative was the only outside vendor Hasbro trusted with their Tiger group products. They supplied us with an intimidating set of criteria for their new Yoda toy:

  • Wiggling ears

  • Blinking eyes

  • Nodding head

  • Bending waist

  • Arm rotation

  • Mouth movements, synchronized with sound

We were tasked with designing, prototyping, & providing tooling-ready CAD data for clockwork that would achieve all these functions, using only one motor. In addition, the toy’s outer shape had been locked - whatever mechanisms we developed had to be contained within that envelope.

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In order to effectively drive the numerous, quick movements contained within the head, we decided to mount the motor in that area (despite the limited space & awkward shape). The mechanism was designed to move the mouth if the motor spun forward & drive all the other motions in the opposite direction, allowing for easy synchronization of the mouth with the audio. A geartrain transmitted power to the torso, rotating the arms & rocking the whole toy at the waist.

Obviously, in an office full of science fiction fans, there were no half-measures taken to fully realize the Jedi master. The final mechanism uses more than 20 unique parts in the head alone, including pulleys, gears, springs, cam clusters, & a silicone belt drive for the mouth to reduce motor noise.

Despite this apparent complexity, the clockwork was quite inexpensive to manufacture, & was easily powered by the cheapest DC motor available. Each gearbox was designed as a fully-contained sub-assembly, drastically simplifying both testing & final assembly of the product.

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