Adafruit Learning System Weekly Update: Lightsabers, Droids, and a Happy Chewbacca

This week on the Adafruit Learning System, the Ruiz Brothers show us how to make an LO-LA59 Droid from Obi-Wan Kenobi. I decided to do a deep dive and see what other Star Wars related guide were out there on ALS. I was not disappointed! But first lets take a look at what’s new on the Adafruit Learning System.

Favorite New Guide

The Ruiz Brothers were busy this week, and my favorite guide this week is another one of theirs. Learn how to create an Owl IR TV Remote.

Build your own IR remote using QT Py RP2040 and CircuitPython! The LED arcade button can be programmed to transmit just about any IR signal. The LED illuminates when the arcade button is pressed and the QT Py’s on-board NeoPixel LED turns on, letting you know the IR signal has been sent. The NeoPixel color switches from green to red. All of the electronics are housed inside a snap fit case. The QT Py RP2040 is secured to a quarter-sized Perma-Proto via headers making it modular.

These are not the guides you are looking for…

These are our best Star Wars related guides. Create droids, give Star Wars blasters a serious upgrade, or improve your cosplay setup. These probably are the guides you are looking for.

LO-LA59 Droid

Build Lola, the companion droid to young Princess Leia.

This cute shoulder bot emotes by flapping her wings and blinking both LED eyes. Small and light enough to carry around on your next mission!

Embedded magnets allow Lola to attach to your shoulder or metal surfaces!

The Happy Chewbacca Mask

Electronic talking toys are fun, but the same old sound loops can get pretty repetitive after a while. This guide will show you how to swap out the original sound board for an Audio FX Sound Board loaded up with lots of your favorite sounds. You’ll need a specific mask to follow along exactly, but these principles can be applied to nearly any toy designed to trigger a sound effect. Or, add a speaker and switch to the mix to give a voice to any prop or costume.

Prop-Maker Lightsaber

Use your maker skills and become the Jedi you were meant to be! Construct your own lightsaber using 3D printed parts and electronics from Adafruit. This advanced prop uses an accelerometer to detect swings and hits to trigger super bright NeoPixels with full sound FX!

DIY Darksaber Build – 3D Print with PropMaker FeatherWing and BLE

This is a fully 3D printed prop that we designed to a DIY kit that you can build yourself with electronics from Adafruit. It’s built to be durable so you can throw some heavy swings for those intense photo shoots. All of the electronics are hidden inside the hilt and it features motion activated lights and sound.

ALS Deep Cut

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With so many guides on the Adafruit Learning System, some amazing guides of years past get buried and lost. ALS Deep Cuts brings these guides back up to the surface. This week’s guide is from back in 2016.

Animated Flame Pendant

A little fire for your heart! But there’s no actual flame here, no heat…instead, LEDs and a microcontroller make a virtual flame that dances like the real thing. (In fact it’s playing a tiny video loop of a real candle.)

We planned this animated flame simply as a piece of high-tech jewelry, but other uses are possible…a fire or lantern effect on cosplay props, a safer alternative to having candles on the table or as part of a holiday display, or a unique night light for finding your way to the bathroom at night.

It’s a simple circuit that can be built either as a pendant or as a tabletop piece. Fair warning though: the pendant variant is tricky…it’s a very tight space requiring ace soldering skills and some unconventional methods. As a tabletop piece, perhaps in a glass votive, or maybe you have a cosplay prop in mind, it’s much more forgiving.


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


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