animated yoda toy

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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.


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.