Matt Kirkland

In Vestimentis Ursum. There's a robot beneath the fluff.

I've always been curious about stuffed animals that sing, dance, light up, or talk back. There must be a fascinating robot underneath the fur and fluff, right? Surely the robot hiding in the bear's clothing, vestimentis ursum, is impressive. So: armed with my childish curiousity and the spurious excuse of 'product design research,' I set out to discover what, exactly, these creatures are hiding.

In Vestimentis Ursum

Why, oh why, is this dog in a tuxedo? I have no idea.

This little robot puppy's ears look like they could pick up shortwave radio.

This gloworm's music-box entrails look a bit more disturbing than usual to me.

This singing & dancing robot has some serious hip-shaking moves. Oh, and is it just me, or does anyone else see a bit of Dwight Schrute here?

New batteries didn't help Alphabet Annie; her alphabet game just wouldn't work.

The big purple guy is creepy enough, but the proto-Darth Vader hidden underneath is just astounding.

When the white structure at the top is depressed, it triggers a mechanism which actuates the white 'legs.' The robot, playing a recorded laugh, knocks iteslf over.

Not so big anymore, eh Mr. Bird?

When the button hidden inside the 'paw' is pressed, the robot launches into an extremely loud rendition of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail," while moving the white 'head' up and down. Surprisingly, Peter is a baritone.

This robot had lead weights taped to the inside of its legs. Perhaps the early prototypes tipped over? Also of note: this is one of the few toys in which the furry exterior is adhered directly onto the skeleton inside.

A rare case when the robot inside looks anything like the fluffy exterior.

Not surprisingly, Tickle-me Elmo consists of a squeeze-activated voicebox and small reciprocating motor.

Rock-n-Roll Elmo has left the building. The guitar looks a bit forlorn, I think.

Singing Elmo's hidden robot looks suspiciously like a duck to me.

The robot hiding inside Ernie had its wires crossed, and would continuously waggle its 'mouth' during photography.

The appendages are spring-loaded: when the handcuffs are released, they fling back and trigger a recorded roar.

This creepy frog wants you for his Valentine. I wouldn't fall for it, if I were you.

Pulling the cord triggers a lullaby. The tension in the pull cord scrunches the body of the panda, like an invisible garbage compactor. One of the more disturbing toys before unwrapping.

Peepers here is 0ne of my absolute favorites.

This teletubby (po, perhaps?) is fittingly vacuous on the inside, too.

The extremely complicated robot hidden inside the yellow bear is the most impressive I've found.

While the robot hiding vestimentis ursum is indeed impressive, I'm more interested in the actual toy. Pooh is holding a hand puppet of his friend. Is this toy designed to teach theories of recursion? Is Tigger a meta-toy?

The blue creature is just as creepy in the flesh.

The tufts of fur left on the cat is by far the most disturbing part here, far outweighing the missing legs.

Chicken-dancing Elmo is mostly machine. A dancing machine, that is. Ahem.

The rabbit robot retains only its puny legs.

The articulated Care-Bear robot is standing by to take your calls.