Other Sound Solutions
Over the years, designers have developed many different ways of syncing audio with the movement of animatronic figures. Frequency shifted keyed data, also known as FSK, was at one time, one of the most popular ways to store synced show data and audio. The FSK data was easily stored on one side (left or right) of a stereo track and the audio was stored on the other. Reel to reel stereo decks and cassette tape decks were typically used to playback both the audio and show control data. FSK could still be used today with an iPod or solid state audio player, but there is much better equipment available.
Beyond off-the-shelf animatronic audio players, the first audio source I think of controlling is an iPod. It seems that the iPod is a perfect solution for animatronics sound. It may be true, but the iPod solution is nothing that has been done to date. In the future, I hope to investigate and prepare a working model of an iPod controlling sound for an animatronic figure. For no other reason than just to say I did it. Here are my notes:
Bluetooth - Yes, an iPod Touch can be controlled by Bluetooth - seems like an easy one. No - think again. Bluetooth is currently very expensive. Also, two-way communication is difficult with an iPod. Apple likes to keep things locked down on the iPods.
Wi-Fi - dead-end (for now). Wi-fi is inexpensive, but Apple designed the iPod so it is not easy to control wirelessly.
RF Remote - definitely a possibility.
Dock for an iPod - definitely a possibility if it has a remote.