Animatronic R2-D2

Date Published: 2010-04-02

Animatronic R2-D2 cover image

This is a project from the old Transistor days. It never got a blog post, but it should have, so now it will. My Friend Wharff had an R2-D2 USB hub that made a long series of beeps when a button was pressed. He wanted to learn about electronics, and asked for my help in making the top of R2's head to move about with blinking LEDs when the button was pressed, in addition to the sound it makes.

It ended up taking several weeks, through much stress and learning. We made a minimalist arduino to leave in the body of R2, and fashioned a way to get a red LED as well as a white one into the head and shine through his hologram projector port. We got it to randomly move to various positions for the duration of the 30 second long sound clip, and then return to center and 'project a hgologram' when done, by blinking the white LED at varying intensity. There was a fair bit of frustration in this build, but it ended up working, and allowed me to get to know one of my now closest friends.

I just took it off a shelf, dusted it off, and filmed this video of it still working today.