R2D2 Wannabe Lacks Lightsaber Launcher, Autonomy

Is this what the lovable Star Wars droid would look like without its protective skin? This R2D2 inspired robot is another Olin College of Engineering (where that CNC cake decorator came from) build developed by [Nathaniel Ting] and his classmates. Alas, it lacks autonomy, relying on an operator for guidance. But we enjoy it for the build quality. Two motorcycle batteries supply DC motors on the two rear legs of the trike. It can be driven with a wireless Xbox controller or through a Python interface that also randomly plays droid audio clips from the movie. That’s a tilting projector on top, which would be used to show Princess Leia’s pleas for assistance. That is, after the operator plugs in an extension cord to power it up. Oh well, it’s still a lot of fun to watch. See for yourself after the break.


14 thoughts on “R2D2 Wannabe Lacks Lightsaber Launcher, Autonomy

  1. Why not just add a circuit to convert the dc to ac that way you could use the batteries to power the projector too. Plus if this site has shown us anything it’s that autonomy is only a few sensors away.

  2. @Timmy!

    Don’t get your wheelchair spokes in a knot.

    I’m just saying it might be better to rename the school to “Olin College of Basket Weaving” or something like that.

    For some, it doesn’t pay to set the bar too high.

    After all, their current motto is “Taking MIT rejects since 2002”

  3. @strider_mt2k There is a difference between latest, and cutting edge. And there is a difference between home/business projectors, averaging 500 on the low end, and one of the pico projectors, nearly at 100 dollars now. Especially when you get a power and weight benefit, which is critical for most robots.

    Noone is telling him “Go spend 70k”. Was suggesting he be a bit smarter on what to use.

  4. Understood, however you know how hacks can be.
    Sometimes you just have to use what’s available, and it looks like that’s what they did.
    Choice of materials is a totally subjective thing.

  5. @cde word. The robot would be cheaper and not suck if he used a pico projector… come on people, think!

    Also, I’m fucking tired of R2D2 sound clips — how about somebody actually design an audio protocol that sounds like R2D2’s beeps that actually transmits *meaningful* digital data. The protocol would need redundancy and to be able to be understood with background noises, etc… but still. You could then use a cell phone app or another droid to listen to the data and receive it. Best of all you could probably do it with a single digital IO line from an MCU using PWM.

    This is a joke.

  6. (Further, it would be neat if the protocol was simple enough to be understood by humans without translation software… maybe closer to morse code than UTF8 over binary over audio beeps)

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