Dead E. Ruxpin is Your Scary Raspberry Pi Pico Animatronic Friend

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Cameron Coward)

There’s something charming about Halloween animatronics—especially when they’re made from scratch like this creepy Dead E. Ruxpin bear created by maker and developer Cameron Coward using a Raspberry Pi Pico. If that name sounds familiar, we recently covered his Raspberry Pi Pico-powered 8 track player project.

Dead E. Ruxpin is designed to use three motors to control the arms and mouth. The signals are received from one channel of a cassette tape that simultaneously plays audio on the other channel. Animations can be pre-programmed on cassettes and swapped out for different songs or tracks.

The bear features a custom-designed 3D-printed skeleton. The servos and electronics are mounted to this frame. The outer bear appearance was accomplished by sliding a bear hand puppet over the 3D-printed body. The bear was then painted and given scary bulging bloodshot eyes for that spooky finishing effect.

According to Coward, all three motors are controlled using just one channel. This was done by assigning frequencies to each motor. A Seeed Studio XIAO RP2040 development board listens to the channel and dissects the frequencies to determine when a servo needs to be triggered based on the signal.

Cassette tapes can be programmed whenever you want to add more tracks. You just need to take the time to animate the servos to the audio track recorded to the tape. There are more details about the project and how it goes together over at Hackster for anyone who wants to learn more.

If you want to get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project in action, you can check out the creepy demonstration over at YouTube. There you’ll also find some more cool projects that Coward has put together in the past.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.