Hacking "My Real Baby" Doll

My Real Baby


My Real Baby has an interesting background. iRobot had previously developed a robot called IT, an emotional responsive robot. Next, they developed a Baby IT (or BIT).

Both of these robots were media attractors, and Hasbro picked up on this and teamed up with iRobot to create My Real Baby.

According to iRobot. “this revolutionary new doll has high-tech animatronics and emotional response software!”Each doll has the ability to change its face in numerous different ways allowing it to convey its emotions to the child playing with it.



My Real Baby can change its facial expression rather adeptly - utilizing movement in its lips, cheeks and forehead (allowing the eyebrows to be raised).

The doll can smile, laugh, blink, frown and cry, suck its thumb and bottle as well as a number of other things. Combine this with an array of sensors and some typical doll accessories, it can provide a child with a truly stimulating play experience. Of course, we don't care about this - the most interesting part of My Real Baby is the robotics and software behind the rubber exterior!

The doll is also supposed to have "hundreds and hundreds" of different baby noises and words which it can randomly combine. The longer you play with the doll, the more it starts to piece sentences together in a coherent fashion.

My Real Baby is supposed to feature a range of "real and virtual sensors" and be fitted with:

- 5 DC motors
- 2 gyroscope sensors

- 6 touch sensors

- Reed switches
- Microphone
- Light sensor

But when you open the head you discover a single and same motor driving cams thus allowing controlling the mouth, cheeks, eyes and forehead.

The Project

The project consists in controlling the motor with a PIC controller through the serial port to trigger the motor.

The sound will be played by the computer.

A program written in Delphi will load a text file and send it through the serial port to the Pic controller.

A program written in C in the Pic will collect data from the text file through the serial port and control the direction of the motor accordingly thus allowing to make move the mouth, eyes, cheek and forehead.

This ingenious cost-reduction principle also has the inconvenient to be more difficult to control.


PCB with a PIC 16F873 and full bridge driver for motor L6202.

Input: Reed sensor form the mouth.

Output: Motor: 2 directions.

Serial port from PC:  data to control the motor


Test #1: Regular Speed: link video 1

Test #2: Modular Direction & Sound: link video

David Hanson's mechatronics head = 24 servomotors ! My Real Baby Head = 1 DC motor !

My Reab Baby & David Hanson mechatronics head at BRL Bristol Robotics Laboratory (UK) formerly IAS LAB Intelligent Autonomous Systems Lab at UWE - 2005 during France Cadet residency