In the Star Wars universe, pit droids are little foldable robots that perform automated repairs on spacecraft and the like. They were introduced in 1999’s The Phantom Menace, and beyond the podracing scenes, are probably the only good thing to come out of that particular film.
[Goran Vuksic] wanted a pit droid of his own, and reasoned that if he was going to go through the trouble of sanding and painting all the 3D printed components so they look like the real bot, he might as well add some smarts to it. While this droid won’t be fixing podracers anytime soon, its onboard Jetson Orin Nano Developer Kit does pack a considerable amount of processing under that dome.
A webcam mounted in the bot’s eye socket is connected to the Jetson, which is running an image detection and identification routine based on the example code provided by NVIDIA. The single-board computer uses a relay to blink some LEDs on and off when a human is detected, and a pair of servos pan-and-tilt the bot’s head towards whoever has caught its gaze.
It’s no surprise that [Goran] picked the Jetson Orin over competing SBCs for this task — in our review of the Orin Nano Developer Kit a few months ago, we found it was able to hit nearly 200 frames per second while performing this sort of real-time image analysis. So there’s plenty of room to grow should he want to integrate more complex image recognition tasks.
For example, he could follow in the footsteps of [Kris Kersey], and put a functional data overlay on top of the video to give his bot Iron Man vision.
Continue reading “Star Wars Pit Droid Has A Jetson Brain”
Droids and robot assistants are still not really a part of our daily lives, even if they started showing up in movies many long decades ago. [Rudy Aramaryo] perhaps hopes that will change one day, and is pursuing this goal with their own droid build named R.O.B.
R.O.B. is quite a hefty ‘bot, weighing 140 lbs and sporting a full 80 Ah of lithium-iron-phosphate batteries for a long running time and plenty of power. For brains, R.O.B. packs in an Apple Mac Mini M1 and a Mac Studio, running OS X. It’s an unusual choice for a robot, but one that brings plenty of computing power to bear, nonetheless. Equipped with tracked propulsion, R.O.B. also features a slip-ring setup in the base allowing the droid to rotate endlessly without tangling wires.
By virtue of its size and power, R.O.B. goes a long way to emulating the general feel of the droids of the Star Wars series. It’s all about the roughly-human-scaled design, and the anthropomorphic features. Further helping the cause are a basic chat ability powered by Python, along with arms and actuators to interact with the world.
The name of this droid recalls us of the charming Nintendo console toy from the 1980s. If these aren’t the droids you’re looking for, and you’ve been hacking on ‘bots of your own, be sure to drop us a line.
The show-stealing droids of Star Wars, R2-D2 and C-3PO, are quite challenging to replicate at home, due to their size and complexity. [curiousmarc] had built the former, with much work going into drawing and design. The more humble Mouse Droid, as seen skittering about the halls of the Death Star, is a considerably easier build — especially with this somewhat improvised approach.
The build relies on reject parts from [curiousmarc]’s R2-D2 build, and other stuff laying around the house, like a toy eggbeater, a VFD, and other electronic bits and pieces. An RC car chassis was placed in the droid’s vacuum-formed shell in order to provide propulsion, with much of the rest of the work being decoration of the housing with various sci-fi ephemera. There’s also a pair of Arduinos inside, controlling the VFD, sound output, and the movable antenna dish on top.
It’s a build with a lot of personality. The sounds, flickering display, and moving antenna do a lot to imbue this droid with a soul, something Lucasfilm readily achieved with many of the robots in the series. It’s something we’ve also seen in robot companion builds from [Jorvon Moss], which are quite sci-fi in their own way, too. Video after the break.
Continue reading “2022 Sci-Fi Contest: A Star Wars Mouse Droid Of Your Very Own”
[Greg06] started learning electronics the same way most of us did: buy a few kits, read a few tutorials, and try your hardest to put a few things together. Sound familiar? After a while, you noticed your skills started increasing, and your comfort level with different projects improved as well. Eventually, you try your hand at making your own custom projects and publishing your own tutorials.
Few are lucky to have a first-project as elaborate as [Greg06’s] quadruped robot. We don’t know about you, but for some of us, we were satisfied with blinking two LEDs instead of just one.
[Greg06’s] robot has a quadruped based, housed within a 3D printed spherical body. The legs are retractable and are actuated by tiny servo motors inside the body. [Greg06] even included an ultrasonic distance sensor for the obstacle avoidance mechanism. Honestly, if it weren’t for the ultrasonic distance sensor protruding from the spherical body, you might think that the entire robot was just a little Wiffle ball. This reminds us of another design we’ve seen before.
If that weren’t enough, the spherical head can rotate, widening the range of the ultrasonic distance sensor and obstacle avoidance mechanism. This is accomplished by attaching another servo motor to the head.
Pretty neat design if you ask us. Definitely one of the coolest quadrupeds we’ve seen.
For many of us, movies are a great source of inspiration for projects, and the Star Wars films are a gift that just keeps giving. The D-O droid featured and the Rise of Skywalker is the equivalent of an abandoned puppy, and with the help of 3D printing, [Matt Denton] has brought it to life. (Video, embedded below.)
D-O is effectively a two-wheeled self-balancing robot, with two thin drive wheels on the outer edges of the main body. A wide flexible tire covers the space between the two wheels, where the electronics are housed, without actually forming part of the drive mechanism. The main drive motors are a pair of geared DC motors with encoders to allow closed-loop control down to very slow speeds. The brains of the operation is an Arduino MKR-W1010 GET on a stack that consists of a motor driver, shield, IMU shields, and prototyping shield. [Matt] did discover a design error on the motor driver board, which caused the main power switching MOSFET to burst into flames from excessive gate voltage. Fortunately he was able to work around this by simply removing the blown MOSFET and bridging the connection with a wire.
The head-on D-O is very expressive and [Matt] used four servos to control its motion, with another three to animate the three antennas on the back of its head. Getting all the mechanics to move smoothly without any slop took a few iterations to get right, and the end result looks and moves very well. Continue reading “Building D-O, The Cone Face Droid”
By now we’ve come to expect a bountiful harvest of licensed merchandise to follow every Star Wars film. This year’s crop included many flavors of BB-8 so every fan can find something to suit their taste. At the top of this food chain is a mobile interactive “Hero Droid BB-8”. For those who want to see how it works, [TheMikeSenna] cracked open his unit to feed our curiosity.
Also called “Spin Master BB-8” for the manufacturer, this toy is impressively sophisticated for its price point. The video surveyed the mechanical components inside the ball. Showing how the droid travels, and how the head articulates.
Continue reading “How The Hero Droid BB-8 Rolls”
The ‘Gonk’ droids from the Star Wars universe are easy to overlook, but serve the important function of mobile power generators. Here on Earth, [bithead942]’s life-size replica droid fulfills much the same purpose.
Cronk — functionally an oversized USB charging hub with a lot of bells and whistles — is remotely controlled by a modified Wii Nunchuck very controller similar to the one [bithead942] used to control his R2-D2. With the help of an Adafruit Audio FX Mini, an Adafruit Class D 20W amp, and two four-inch speakers, the droid can rattle off some sound effects as it blows off some steam(really, an inverted CO2 duster). An Arduino Mega acts as Cronk’s brain while its body is sculpted from cast-able urethane foam for its light weight and rigidity. It also houses a FPV camera, mic, and DVR so it can be operated effectively from afar.
And, it can dance!
Continue reading “Cronk The Gonk Droid”