Arduino powered Dalek for all the Dr. Who fans. Designed by Andy Grove.
After building the miniature robot Dalek earlier this year I decided to start work on a full size Dalek with the goal of finishing it in time for Halloween. Well, with just days to spare, I have completed the project. The construction took five months, with some time spent working on it almost every weekend. It is made primarily out of plywood, cardboard, and papier mache.
The electronics were comparatively quick to put together. I have used an Arduino Uno to monitor two ultrasonic sensors in the base of the Dalek and send the results over the USB serial interface to a Raspberry Pi which then plays an MP3 clip. I used a separate Arduino board to provide sound to light functionality to drive the dome lights.
I could have achieved the results I needed using just the Arduino or the Raspberry Pi but it seems to me that the Arduino is better suited to low level functions interacting directly with sensors and motors and so on, whereas the power of the Raspberry Pi is that it is a fully functional Linux computer for tasks requiring more computational power and where I can easily use existing skills to leverage the internet later on. Eventually I plan to put motors in the dome and a webcam in the eye so that the Dalek can look directly at people that approach. I also want to have a web interface to be able to control behavior.
March 29th is Arduino Day 2014! Arduino day is “a worldwide event bringing together Arduino people and projects. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.” Adafruit will be celebrating with 24 hours of Arduino posts on our blog as well as a special Saturday night LIVE show with Massimo Banzi, co-founder and CEO of Arduino. Join us Saturday, March 29th at 7 PM EST to celebrate Arduino Day 2014! Be sure to check out our extensive learning system tutorials on Arduino as well as our Arduino blog coverage and products.