Hacking Elmo

By on November 13, 2005

A while back we posted on ‘Knows Your Name’ Elmo. (The idea of an Elmo that knows my son’s name creeps me out. I couldn’t really watch A.I. because of that bear. For me, Elmo has taken a base-jump into the Uncanny Valley). I add this next to, “Chicken Dance Elmo has No ‘Off’ or ‘Stop’ switch” on my list of Sesame Street’s crimes against humanity.

Well, Casey Halverson left an intriguing comment on his attempts to hack Elmo. He’s back with a full-on Elmo-hacking HOWTO on his blog. Warning: Casey’s site doesn’t format so well now looks fine in Firefox.

People have been asking for a HOWTO on messing with Elmo. This is all a work in progress, but I will still share with you my findings so far.

Of course, the first product from the online community will likely be ‘F-Bomb Elmo’, or ‘Talks Like a Sailor Elmo’. I’m waiting for the day people start hooking Elmo into their continuous code testing systems: “Elmo thinks you have a fatal error on line 223! Nice going jerk! Hee hee!”

What This Links To


  1. Next, this guy should learn something about forming paragraphs. He has the widest sentences of any site that I have ever seen. My horizontal scroll bar finally for tired.

  2. If casey bothered doing a search for .rbf, he’d find that it’s DSP TrueSpeech compression which is included in Window’s Sound Recorder utility. Have fun!

  3. Well after searching for a week now i can find nothing on the .rbf files used in this elmo toy. i’v tried everything cool edit pro will open the file but it’s all messed up if someone could find out how to edit these files the hack would be much eaiser i dont see how anything can be done without being able to mess with these files?as far as i know .rbf isnt a DSP truespeech file

  4. Yes, i did do an extensive search for the elusive .rbf format. Re-searching today, the only google entry for “DSP TrueSpeech” and “.rbf” is this exact post.

    And while from a glance, the formats do look very similar, saving it in Window’s Sound Recorder puts the wrong type of header on the file. The magic words are not even the same. Elmo clicks and sputters trying to play these files.

    I’ll try ripping out the “RIFF2” wave header crap and slap on the WMdM + binary and see what happens.

  5. just rename the sound files and switch them around, i made elmo say that my baby likes alligator, snake and racoon, I guess my baby is cajun, LOL

  6. I have tried ripping the RIFF header off of these TrueSpeech encoded wave files and inserting the WMdM@ magic words at the top. It does not like truespeech encoded files and it still pops and stops playing that sample.

  7. please help how do I change my Elmo’s RBF files to regular audio or speech and the other way around…. i have sound forge, vegas etc…. trying to add different suff… thanks

  8. Klick on my Name I set a link to something interessting regarding the first line in the .rfb files. WMdM@…

    It seems in my Eyes that Mattel is protecting their Investments by Encrypting the Sounds. Anyone decrypting that thing would be my personal Hero.

    Casey did you record something new or just used Mattels Sounds and renamed them to lets say Jaden.rbf?

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.