What I learned from Barbie

What I learned from Barbie

Initially when this Hello Barbie was announced I was super eager to do a teardown and even try to do a reverse engineering attempt. However, the Somerset Recon team did a great job of this and I cannot even attempt to match it (I extracted the binary if anyone wants to bring me a decompiler and join in otherwise I need more time than I’m willing to put in at the moment). Instead I’m looking at how they deal with manufacturing issues and basic interfacing here. I initially did this back in December so at this point this is more to make sure my thoughts get collected than anything else. Let’s dive in.

WARNING: There are weird, art school-ish photos of a dissection of Barbie even before we get to the electronics. 

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Getting Your Bitmaps Converted for Simple Display in Your Firmware

Getting Your Bitmaps Converted for Simple Display in Your Firmware

Perhaps you finally got a snazzy display for your latest project. I highly recommend the AdafruitGFX library as well as GIMP, and for making your own fonts, MikroElcktronika GLCD Font Creator (optional and not covered here).

If you are looking for a project to get you started, AdaFruit has a lovely wearable project.


  • GIMP
  • Access to your lovely bitmaps


  1. Open the target bitmap into GIMP.
  2. Assume it is trimmed to the size you desire.
  3. Take note of the dimensions of the bitmap
  4. From the GIMP menu, select Colors->Rearrange colormap so it is appears a below (BLACK = 1; WHITE = 0) and click OK.


  1. Select from the menu Image->Mode->Indexed. Choose 1-bit palette and click “ Dithering is optional.


  1. Save the file by selecting File->Export As. Choose c header file (.h) and name appropriately. Now use this however needed in your required firmware infrastructure. Personally, I make sure everything is “const” and indexable with sizes and offsets.Here is an example(rebelbot_bw.h).