Axtell Hands-Free Animatronic & Remote Control Systems

Hands-Free Characters Logo
Hands-Free Comparison Chart
Hands-Free EZ System

Our EZ System is a low cost way to into the world of animatronics! It’s great for those who want an easy system and do not want to do any programming or Motor-Mouth operating where a microphone controls the character’s mouth.

1. LIVE CONTROL- You can use the Remote Control Transmitter to control the puppet’s every move. Imagine hiding behind a curtain or behind a crowd of people and interacting with them! He watches someone walk by and calls out to them! This is an amazing attention getter for theme parks, events and trade shows!

Upgradeable to our Magic2 System

Note – servos make sound when they move but your audience will not notice that when your audio is playing and they are laughing! Performers who are experienced our Hands-Free Animatronics know this 100%!

 

Magician Frank Glab entertaining with the Axtell Hands-Free Toucan Live with the EZ LIVE System at the IBM/SAM convention. It was the hit of the show…as they always are!

Hands-Free Vent System

Operate our Hands-Free VENT puppet from a distance with the tiny remote FOB hidden in your hand. Works great for ventriloquists.

LIVE CONTROL – The key fob allows you to control the character’s mouth and left/right direction only while the rest of the character is controlled with Auto Alive.

AUTO-ALIVE You also get hardware based Auto-Alive that keeps your character alive when a track ends. You can control the left or right dominance on the Auto-Alive or have it centered toward your audience. Your character will never stop still with Auto-Alive.

MOTORMOUTH – MotorMouth lets you speak into a microphone connected to the box and control the mouth of the puppet during Auto-Alive motion for the rest of the character’s body. This frees up your hands to concentrate on body movments only with the Transmitter Radio. You can also easily move the mouth manually with the joystick if Motor-mouth is not needed.

Upgradeable to our Magic2 System

The ventriloquist style characters are remote controlled, and operated by a tiny FOB control (like you would beep your car doors with). It’s very easy to hide in your hand (I’m being obvious in the video).  On stage with you, the puppet always looks alive with the automatically active “Auto-Alive”, watching you & your audience and your show.  When you want to control him, just push one button to “look over at you” – another “at your audience” and the next to “move it’s mouth” and talk!  You have total control just like a vent figure or puppet, but by remote control! When you are finished interacting you can go on with other parts of your show and the Hands-Free Vent Puppet stays in Auto-Alive (this state is not random, it is pre-set (you have 4 to choose from) so if you want the character to stay looking at you 80% of the time and 20% around the room / or more centered looking around / or more relaxed, or more active…it’s all possible)  You can also work with another puppet in your hands, and still control this remote puppet (3 way conversations!) with the tiny control hidden in your other hand! You can also upgrade to the Magic2 System at any point.

Ventriloquist Darren Carr using the Toucan in Vent Mode with the tiny FOB
The Vent System is also included in the Magic2 System!

Hands-Free Magic2 System

This is our full functioning animatronic system. Upgradeable to MediaStar for multiple Character control.

With this advanced “Axtell Hands-Free Animation System” it expands your show with full programming and show control at an amazingly low price! You’ll get:
LIVE CONTROL – Control the character live with either the key FOB or radio transmitter.

AUTO-ALIVE You also get hardware based Auto-Alive that keeps your character alive when a track ends. You can control the left or right dominance on the Auto-Alive or have it centered toward your audience. Your character will never stop still with Auto-Alive.

MOTORMOUTH – MotorMouth lets you speak into a microphone connected to the box and control the mouth of the puppet during Auto-Alive motion for the rest of the character’s body. This frees up your hands to concentrate on body movments only with the Transmitter Radio. You can also easily move the mouth manually with the joystick if Motor-mouth is not needed.

PROGRAMMABLE– You can program your own routines on the Netbook computer. The Magic2 Console is the powerful hi tech solution. You can record your own voices in any language, then record / program the movement of the character and synch them together into a MagicTrax mp3! The Magic2 Animation Console is your programming engine. Any song writing or recording, programming or animation is non-exclusive unless exclusive rights are purchased.

Laptop and Playback Softward Included – Click the Fob to begin your show’s background music and MagicTrax programming! The netbook gives you a big view of your show on the presentation software display so you can see what track is playing and what is next. You can also play your MagicTrax from an iPod or Mp3 player if you don’t want to use the Netbook on location. The Magic2 Animation Console also provides wireless transmission of the MagicTrax data to the character and provides all stereo splitting and routing of the signals internally.

DATA TRACK BLEND – This blends your characters’s movements smoothly from any tracks starting or pausing. Data Track Blending also provides for smooth transitions across any gaps or jump cuts in your data program edits.

VENT & MAGIC FOB MODES – When in Magic mode, your FOB will wirelessly control software playback and mp3 routines on your laptop. When in Vent mode, your FOB will control the character’s mouth and head left/right movements while Auto Alive controls the rest! Even if you are not a ventriloquist you will find many uses for this secret method of controlling your character!

Here’s the World’s Oldest Pianist operating with the Magic2 System

AI Axtell Intelligence

Axtell Intelligence Upgrade

Axtell Intelligence is our new patent pending technology for
Character Conversations using Speech Recognition.
AI can now be added to any Axtell Magic2 Animatronic, and does not require any programming or live operator to work!
Click here for more information.

MediaStar Upgrade

MediaStar Upgrade

This special Axtell version of the Show Control software and hardware works together with the Axtell Magic2 System to give you Multiple Axtell Character control & true stereo music (expandable for remote trigger effects & DMX lighting)Watch MediaStar in action combining these two Toucans in a “pre-show” routine. Learn More Here.

What our customers are saying

"What can I say?!!! This is unbelievable! This is what I've dreamed for (for years)!"
Henk van den Bos
"Unbelievable. As a trade show traffic builder, it's worth its weight in gold."
Dale Brown
"This is so exciting!... You are taking puppetry light years ahead! When you consider modern kids and their expectations, these animatronics are going to really WOW the World of kids' entertainment. The World is soon going to be a much funnier place to be Brilliant!...Steve, this is truly incredible!"
Doug Roberts, UK
"I have three words: WOW! - WOW! - WOW! ... I am stunned or should I say breathless... at the beauty of this remote controlled Toucan. You are a genius and I sure hope you do well. It is definitely on my wish list!"
Dennis Michael, USA

Toucan and Tree on the Multi-Character System.This Custom Pre-programmed routine was made by us for a magic convention in Las Vegas. Any routine you create is possible. You can record the voices and program it, or we can do it all for you!

Three Animatronics Working Together in our Advanced Magic2 System!
Email Steve for More Information

Ron was one of my original co-designers of the Hands-Free Puppet Mechanics and Control System Concept.   He was an amazing man who died April 2009. Ron had 40 years in the robotics industry.  He made the famous car “Kitt” from “Knight Rider” and the robots in “Buck Rogers in the 21st Century”.  His work will live on in our animatronic characters.

Hands-Free Customers

Animatronic Systems FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

EZ LIVE Animatronic System.
This system controls the character with a LIVE Remote Control Transmitter Radio. This system is not programmable, nor does it have Auto-Alive, MotorMouth or Vent Mode. It is an amazingly powerful entry level system that is upgradeable to the Advanced Magic2 System.

VENT Remote Control System.
This system will allow a ventriloquist to operate the puppet hands-free with a small remote FOB. You control the mouth and head turning while the body is moving with Auto-Alive. This system is not programmable and will not playback MagicTrax, but is fully upgradeable to the Magic2 System.

MAGIC 2 Advance Animatronics System.
This system contains all the full featured software and equipment to program and playback your own tracks, as well as perform LIVE with the Transmitter, or use a FOB (small handheld remote control) to control the character in VENT mode, or to use MotorMouth (speaking into a microphone to control the mouth of the puppet), has hardware based Auto-Alive (keeps the character moving as if alive between tracks and during VENT or MotorMouth modes, and is upgradeable to MediaStar for multi-character control during the same routine! ALSO upgrading to the MULTI-CHARACTER system with the addition of AXTELL VERSION MEDIASTAR allows for the syncing of up to 4 characters in a show! Put all of their voices on the same stereo sound track (no need to split the stereo) and then program each character separately. When you play back the show, your characters will interact and be in sync!

We have a new feature for the Magic2 System called Axtell Intelligence! This allows your animatronic to talk on it’s own without any programming. It can hold a conversation with your guests or audience volunteer. It is a separate system that plugs into the green Magic Box that comes with your Magic2 System. Check out this feature HERE.

Easy-Talk System
This is also different technology from our Hands-Free PUPPET Systems (EZ LIVE, VENT & MAGIC 2) but still is in our family of animatronic products. It’s also our most affordable animatronic option! This is a universal base unit that you can put some puppets over. We have bottom entry and back entry designs for different puppets. The head automatically moves randomly left and right, and the mouth movement is triggered by an audio signal (microphone, mp3 recording, voice memo). No remote or complicated programming needed! It also integrates with our A.I system!

HANDS-FREE MAGIC DRAWING BOARD.
This is different technology but still is in our Hands-Free family of products. You can now program a Remote Control Drawing Board with the Hands-Free version! This will allow playing our MagicTrax made for the board with full programming and motion control….as well as controlling the board LIVE with the eraser!. This replaces the earlier Remote Control Board.

The Axtell Hands-Free Animation Control System is 12 months limited warranty on the circuitry and hardware for original owners only.
The character, face, body covering, servos, linkage, receiver and battery is 3 months.
The Transmitter Radio is 3 years.
The Netbook computer is 1 year.

Only parts and labor provided by Axtell Expressions are covered under the warranty during the term. Other costs such as shipping, import taxes, insurance, etc. are not covered or reimbursed.

We have full free tech support from our animatronics staff and quick turn around for any repairs needed.

Yes we call it AI ATTRACTIONS: Axtell Intelligence is incredible! Our characters can talk on their own and carry on a conversation, sing & tell Jokes. You need to have one of our Magic2 System Characters and then you purchase the AI option for it. Here is more information on AI.

We designed the Hands-Free Puppet Systems to have an upgrade path. You can start with the introductory system EZ Live, then you can upgrade to either the VENT or MAGIC2 system, VENT can upgrade to the Magic2 System, then MAGIC2 can be upgraded to Multiple Character control by adding MediaStar. The Magic2 System AND Easy-Talk system can also be upgraded to include A.I. (Axtell Intelligence) Check out this feature HERE.

Additional controls and options are being developed for these systems as we go along. You can check with Tech Support for more information on upgrades.

The Easy-Talk system  and Hands-Free LITE (legacy system) and are not upgradable to the other Hands-Free Puppet Systems. 

Yes we have a full custom character service. Our custom puppets are used by the top professionals in the business as you can see here on our CUSTOM PAGE. Custom characters are made non-exclusive unless exclusive rights are purchased. We can also turn any custom puppet into a unique animatronic character with our team of engineers. Any animation you can dream up, can become a reality with Axtell Expressions.

If you already have a Trademark branded Character we can turn it into an animatronic, or if you would like one developed by us for your show or business, email Steve and get it going!

There used to be many animatronic options years ago before computer graphics and virtual realty kind of shut down many of the great companies doing work in movies and entertainment. There are just a few giants out there at the top of the field doing amazing work. Our vision is to fill that gap and start a revolution of sorts…. so anyone who wants to invest in this business venture with high quality animatronic characters can finally afford to jump in! We think we have something special and here is why:

COST – Our system is amazingly low cost investment that can generate income for years to come. These professional high tech systems built by our team of engineers, not electronic toys! Once you realize how involved these are mechanically, and how “cutting edge” our technology is, you will be amazed at the low prices. it is actually the the first time in history that an animatronic line as powerful as these were made available at such a low price! Just a few years ago before we entered the scene, something like these would have sold for $50,000 to $100,000. We have spent many years and our team has invested heavily in their development to bring you cutting edge technology on a budget! It’s kind of a revolution! So they really are an investment…if you want to see the power of these characters, and can afford to invest in your business or show, you have come to the right place!

AMAZING AXTELL CHARACTERS – one of the strengths of our system is the Axtell Character designs. Audiences love them even before they speak! It is FAR more entertaining to see a whimsically designed character moving around and talking magically! Audience observation has revealed that people are more aware of design errors and bothered by animatronics that are trying to be realistic and lifelike.There is just something “off” and “not right” even “odd or weird”, and they focus on those instead of enjoying the show. When you move into the “character world” and abandon realism you open up the imagination of your audience and the fun begins! We have nearly 100 whimsical characters available and custom characters can be made just for you!

FEATURE PACKED with EXCLUSIVE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS-

PROGRAMMING IS SO EASY – Our system is packed with features including LIVE real time programming which saves you Hours and Days of time. Some other systems are so complex that you need a degree in computer programming to work it, and then just try to get some help! Some require each single servo channel action to be programmed with your computer mouse. We looked into these and tried them and it drove us crazy! We took the crazy out of it and created a system that is INTUITIVE and NATURAL! The process of programming is just as easy as operating the character in LIVE mode with the transmitter! It ROCKS and you will love it! Also with our system you see your real character reacting wirelessly in real time during your programming. Some other systems have a visual representation on a computer screen – you never really get what you want like that. Simplicity is the key to programming new shows and making money with these systems.

We also offer a recording and programming service at Axtell Expressions. All recordings, songs, programming or animation are non-exclusive unless exclusive rights are purchased for the tracks.

FLEXIBLE CONTROL – Some other systems require a computer to perform. Ours is optional. With our system you can play our special control MagicTrax® on a computer with a large display for cues if you want, or put them on an iPOD or any Mp3 Player… even a CD Player or cassette player. We can also create custom MagicTrax for you in our studio (your voices or ours) and we can email the finished mp3 to you. Then you just pop it into your system and watch it! Amazingly flexible!

WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY – You can set the character out in the open or on stage with no wires connected to it. You can control them from a hidden key FOB in your hand. Even the battery supply is hidden either inside the stand or inside the seat the character is sitting on. We do not use Infrared signal like your TV remote control where you have to be pointing directly at the receiver. We use Radio Control and 2.4 GHz for secure locked in wireless connection without interference. Our system is FCC approved and CE certified. Most other hand-made or hobby systems are not even tested, so you run the risk of illegally operating equipment which might cause problems with other wireless devices. You do NOT want that to happen! Play it safe with the Axtell system.

AUTO-ALIVE With our system Auto-Alive® automatically keeps the character moving and alive between tracks for as long as you want. Other system play a track and the robot stops dead. Oh and there are several auto-alives to choose from and can be custom made! They can look central, dominantly Left, or dominantly Right, move very slow and relaxed, or more active, etc.

DIRECTIONAL DOMINANCE – Say you want to stand on the right side of a character so you have programmed it that way…. but you change your mind and really want to stand on the left side now. You don’t have to reprogram! Just switch the dominance to the other side and the head movements of the character will switch sides just like a human would do! Other systems don’t do this.

SMOOTH MOVEMENTS – Our unique robot design and programming provides you with the smoothest movements available, our animatronics do not bang & jerk into extreme positions like SOOO many others. Even the transition when a MagicTrax ends, and Auto-Alive begins is engineered to be blended smooth and seamless so there is no noticeable change.

MOTORMOUTH – gives you microphone sound level control over the mouth movement of the character, and it’s not just open and close positions like other systems. Ours is VARIABLE and REALISTIC…. speak quietly and it moves just a little, speak loud and it opens big…. hold a long note of a song and it stays open just like you want! You can even connect an audio source to the MotorMouth jack without using a microphone. Auto-Alive provides the natural body motion during Motor-Mouth, so no programming is needed. In fact, you can create your own “split-track stereo recording” with music and sound effects with voice on one side, and voice only on the other side. Using a splitter you can send the voice only track to the MotorMouth jack and you have a fully animated character without ANY PROGRAMMING!

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – This optional AI (Axtell Intelligence) will work with the Magic2 System and Vent System because they have the green Magic Box (Animation Control System). See this feature HERE.

ELECTRONIC MENU CONTROLS – the system is packed with menu settings and parameters you can change such as blending amount, dominance switching, mouth opening range, auto-alive selection and so much more.

TECH SUPPORT – One of the biggest features of our system is our company! We provide great Customer Service and free Tech Support to help orginial purchasers with your system. We also provide a User Forum and full library of video tutorials and documentation for you! Second hand buyers will need to register and purchase the tech support package.

YES! If you are a variety performer such as a magician, ventriloquist, clown, juggler you can put your show on steroids by adding one of these characters to the show! We have heard from many full time performers who have seen BIG increases in their show bookings once adding a character. It really is that “something special” that can get you more bookings over the competition. Not only will your stage show see increased bookings but you can now strictly make money with the character too!

You can hire out the animatronic character and yourself as entertainment at events like Festivals, Concerts, Trade shows, Parties, etc. Based on the increase of traffic your character can generate you can charge quite a nice sum, depending on your area. One of the best ways to generate traffic is to hide yourself and operating the character in LIVE mode. You can have the character commenting on people watching them and strike up very funny conversations. they will come running from all over to see it in action!

Retail stores, malls, restaurants and theme parks can also generate much more business and word-of-mouth by adding one of these characters to greet your guest or present information. Imagine a Toucan greeting your guests and telling them about your events and specials!

It’s amazingly simple with our breakthrough technology. First you record the voice and create a sound track. Then you play that track and perform the character to that track with the LIVE Transmitter and it is captured on the computer. If you make a mistake you can stop and find a starting point anywhere in the track, replacing where you messed up. You don’t have to start over from the beginning with programming on our system! The Axtell Animation Control System will smooth out those edit points with it’s electronic blending feature during playback!

The program is saved into a special mp3 file called a MagicTrax. That file which contains both the audio and the synced animation data is played from any source (computer, iPOD, mp3 player) into our Hands-Free Animation System to wirelessly control the character! Don’t worry about how it’s done yet…. we have full tutorial videos, instructions, an owners forum and free tech support from our animatronics department!

Learn how they operate before you buy – Check the VIDEOS out here.

If you would prefer NOT to program them but want incredible entertainment, we can do that for you for a fee. Another option is the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Axtell Intelligence system. Check that out HERE.

The audio sound comes from the mp3 player into your PA System. We did not pack tiny speakers into the character because the sound would be garbage. You need high quality audio for a great presentation. Your audience needs to hear the character well and will laugh louder and enjoy the show better when the sound is quality and loud enough to be heard well. Technically the audio is played from the Netbook or other mp3 player into our Magic2 Box, then from the audio out jack it plugs into your PA system. The box also wirelessly transmits the movement to the character…. it is amazing technology. Different sized crowds and environments require different systems.

No these are not like noisy pneumatic systems like you see at haunted houses or theme parks that slam and bam all day long. Our systems are smoothly animated with sophisticated servo motors and they need to be cooled by turning them off between periods of operation. On units made before 2016 we recommend 1/2 hour maximum on time, with 15 min rest / turned off cooling time. On units made after 2016 we recommend 3 hour runtime with 30 min off / rest time. Leaving servos on too long can cause them to overheat and they can burn out, so proper operation time is a must.When the system is turned on the motors are working, even if you are not moving the character, the motors are holding the character still and in place. Servos can be replaced and mechanics can be repaired if needed. We are excited to present the new longer lasting Hands-Free Animatronics by Axtell Animatronics.

Toggle We have instructions, a full library of video tutorials, a private Hands-Free Customer forum for owners to discuss technical issues and marketing ideas, and free Technical Support from our Animatronics Staff HERE.

The Transmitter Radio is 2.4 GHz so it can operate for greater than a mile away, but you would want to be closer to your character than that so you could hear the crowd and interact. The VENT remote FOB works within 30 feet, and the FOB to control the Netbook Computer MagicTrax is 150 feet! All of our wireless technology is RF (radio frequency).

Most of our customers have reported between 3 and 5 hours of running time from a full charge, however it depends on the age of the battery and the amount of use it gets during performances. The Puppet’s Power is a universal AC adapter for any countries wall power, however the Transmitter we sell in the USA has only a 110v adapter. A universal adapter is available to purchase as an option if you are also traveling overseas. If you live in a country that has a power supply different than USA you will need to use a power stepdown converter to convert your local power to 110v.

It’s more difficult than reading your watch, but it’s much easier than the other systems out there. If you are really technically challenged, get frustrated easily by details, and haven’t even set the clock on your DVD player…. you might just want to get one of our hand puppets instead of this…..BUT if you are up to a little learning and are excited about using some cutting edge technology to bring characters to life….. get this now! Performers in over 20 countries are using them now!

Remember, we have instructions, tutorial videos, a private owners forum, and free tech support to help you bring your dreams into reality with the Axtell Hands-Free Animatronic Systems!

The easiest system is the Magic2 with the AI option! This is SELF RUNNING. The character can carry on a conversation on it’s own. Check it out HERE.

OH YES we have a very excited user base and have them operating now in over 20 countries! Some are installations in stores and theme parks, but some are individual performers like these HERE!

First we will need a $2500 deposit to begin making your system. We have provided a BUY BUTTON on each system type which you can use to pay the deposit in our secure shopping cart system. Once you have paid your deposit, our Customer Service Department will contact you with follow up questions as to which character and what accessories you want to order. They will also work up a quote with shipping to your address.

CLICK on the character you like at the top of this page.

You can also contact our Customer Service directly with Questions or to make your deposit by phone:
Telephone 805 642-7282
Email – order@axtell.com

Servos are electric motors and they do have mechanical sound when they move. When you first get an animatronic character you may focus on the sound because you will probably be in a quiet room when you begin to play with it in your house. The sound however falls away when your audience sees the performance. Use background music and a sound system so the music & voice of the character is louder than the servo sounds.We have these systems all over the world performing for audiences and they LOVE them and don’t pay attention to the servos sound…. Entertainment trumps all that!

Don't See What You're Looking For?