Resurrecting Zurg (IoTron)

Update the Zurg room guardian with esp32 wifi notifcation and actions!

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When my son was little he really loved Toy Story and all the characters. Buzz Lightyear was his favorite. One of the gifts he received was a Zurg Room Guardian made by Thinkway toys. Once proudly guarding my sons room, Zurg eventually found himself collecting dust in our basement. A candidate for cleanup and donation, I decided to save Zurg from oblivion and use him for my first hack-a-day project.

Plan: Enhance Zurg with esp32 wifi to enable interaction/monitoring from a smartphone. Incorporate Watson services to enhance Zurg capabilities.

Project Name: IoTron


  • Restore Zurg to his former glory and ensure all works as it originally did before embarking on further hacking attempts.
  • Determine if Zurg is accessible/hackable by disassembling him and analyzing whatever is found inside.
  • Integrate a esp32 to enhance Zurg capabilities
  • Add a Camera using built-in motion detection
  • Have Zurg send notification to my smartphone when an intruder is present and let me decide whether to warn them or put them under further surveillance.
  • Use the camera to show who is setting off Zurg.
    • Send photo's to Watson or smartphone app.
    • Perform Watson Analysis for automatic pass list of people allowed in.
    • Send custom warning from my smartphone to Zurg or tell Zurg to play one of his canned greetings.

Zurg's new mission, should he come out of this project unscathed, will be to guard my top secret electronics laboratory.

  • 1 × Zurg Room Guardian Thinkway Toys
  • 1 × esp32 Wifi module
  • 1 × Smartphone App (still investigating) Blynk Software
  • 1 × Watson Services
  • 1 × Camera module

  • Step 6 (Camera Fun)

    Glenn10/15/2016 at 15:15 0 comments

    So after some bumps along the way, I have the Adafruit Serial Jpeg Camera motion detection program working on the esp32. Espressif fixed a few uart bugs and I mainly had to remove references to Software Serial library as it's not supported yet on the esp32. While I brute force commented out Software Serial support, I am sure there is probably a much more elegant way to fake it out for now.

    So my next step is to understand how I might use the Watson SDK to allow for photo analysis.

  • Step 5 (reboot)

    Glenn09/26/2016 at 22:56 0 comments

    Picking this project up again. With the esp32 just released this project is getting a bump to use it in this project. I plan to upload all materials in my github account.

    I have also been reviewing my camera placement options. I had hoped to avoid any case modifications but I think it's going to be inevitable.

    Looking for suggestion for Camera's. When making an order last year from Adafruit I impulsivly purchased one of these

    Miniature TTL Serial JPEG Camera with NTSC Video.

    This one may have been the better option

    TTL Serial JPEG Camera with NTSC Video

  • Step 4

    Glenn09/17/2015 at 05:33 0 comments

    I started the system level and schematic drawings on upverter. I received two Adafruit HUZZAH ESP8266 Breakout PRODUCT ID: 2471, one of their cameras Miniature TTL Serial JPEG Camera with NTSC Video PRODUCT ID: 1386.

    As a backup I also ordered and received two Particle Photon's in case I need more ummph

  • Step 3

    Glenn09/05/2015 at 19:08 0 comments
  • Step 2

    Glenn09/02/2015 at 05:52 0 comments

    I vacuumed Zurg off and proceeded inspect the base first. Underneath we find

    1. Speaker
    2. Battery holder for 3 Double AA batteries
    3. Base switch to activate Zurg manually
    4. A play or try me switch. Base switch is currently working with this switch in either position. (Note: So I ended up looking up the instructions for Zurg and found out that you have to arm him in order to have him monitor the sector).
    5. Wire bridge PCB that handles the transition from the main PCB to the sensor, lights and motors in the main body. I expect it there to provide some possible strain relief and or just make assembly easier. See photo for connections.
    6. Main PCB is comprised of two parts. One smaller daughter board which just has a resister and one black blob, and the main board which has resistors, caps and transistors. All caps look to be okay (no swelling)

    Next I took apart his body (reluctantly to determine which wires were for the sensor) and found

    1. Main body motor which turns his upper body and his head.
    2. Arm motor
    3. Mouth light
    4. Eye lights
    5. Gun light
    6. Sensor led
    7. Movement sensor (Looks to be a Photo Resistor). PCB marked RL-346E

    I plan to use upverter to document the system and the circuit. Seems to be lots of room in the base to put an esp8266.

    So for my project I will want to remote activate the Zurgotronic Patrol System (simulate base button press - twice quickly). Pass the sensor and led circuit via the esp8266 so i can control when the led lights or the Photo resistor is enabled. Optionally control how zrurg moves side to side by controlling his body motor. Add support for a camera to capture the intruder?

    Most of these photos are self explanatory but I'll add captions for completeness


    Base switch


    Main PCB - Bottom View

    Main PCB - Top View

    Lots o hot glue

    Main PCB - Blob View

    - I am guessing it is some kind of MP3 player chip

    Wire bridge PCB

    Wire bridge PCB - close up

    Wire bridge PCB - pinouts

    Main body and arm motors


    Zone Activation LED and Light Sensor

  • Step 1

    Glenn09/01/2015 at 05:36 0 comments

    Clean up Zurg.

    Yup he's pretty dam dusty.

    Popped the battery cover off the bottom and found that 2 out of 3 double AA batteries were missing and the one left had started spitting battery juice. I can only surmise that Zurg was robbed of his live giving force in order to supply the usurper xbox controller with much needed sustenance.

    Cleaned up the battery gunk and popped in a fresh set of batteries.

    Zurg was quite happy to respond to the press of the button on his base but alas his motion sensing ability seems fubar'd atm. A thorough cleaning and removal of the bottom plate are next.

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Tammy wrote 02/02/2017 at 02:52 point

I really admire how your able to use your past interest with current events.  I wish I could wrap my mind around how to create anything technical.

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