Enlarge / Alexa, how do I create something that combines AI with a creepy 1980s toy? (credit: Sean Gallagher)

It's been 50 years since Captain Kirk first spoke commands to an unseen, all-knowing Computer on Star Trek and not quite as long since David Bowman was serenaded by HAL 9000's rendition of "A Bicycle Built for Two" in 2001: A Space Odyssey. While we've been talking to our computers and other devices for years (often in the form of expletive interjections), we're only now beginning to scratch the surface of what's possible when voice commands are connected to artificial intelligence software.

Meanwhile, we've always seemingly fantasized about talking toys, from Woody and Buzz in Toy Story to that creepy AI teddy bear that tagged along with Haley Joel Osment in Steven Spielberg's A.I. (Well, maybe people aren't dreaming of that teddy bear.) And ever since the Furby craze, toymakers have been trying to make toys smarter. They've even connected them to the cloud—with predictably mixed results.

Naturally, I decided it was time to push things forward. I had an idea to connect a speech-driven AI and the Internet of Things to an animatronic bear—all the better to stare into the lifeless, occasionally blinking eyes of the Singularity itself with. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tedlexa: a gutted 1998 model of the Teddy Ruxpin animatronic bear tethered to Amazon's Alexa Voice Service.

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