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Making a Vintage Star Wars AT-AT toy walk with an Arduino

Making a Vintage Star Wars AT-AT toy walk with an Arduino

Dave Stein is a software engineer during the day and a tinkerer on Arduino projects in his free time after work. He submitted on the blog his first Arduino project with the goal of powering his old AT-AT Walker toy (mid 1980s) with Arduino Uno and make it walk and perform some of the functions we see in the Star Wars movies.

AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) are four-legged combat walkers 22.5mt (73.8ft) tall of the Galactic Empire, one of its most famous military symbols introduced  in “Star Wars V: The Empire strikes back”, and we may see them again in the next weeks on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” the upcoming episode of the saga opening December 18th.

The AT-AT walker toy updated by Dave is controlled by a wired Xbox 360 controller that interfaces with a computer and transports a signal to the Arduino Uno for walker movement:

The left and right triggers move the walker forward and backward while the right stick moves the head horizontally. If you have ever played with this toy you may remember it was clumsy and difficult to move. In my project I wanted to learn about and conquer the difficulties of quadrupedal movement. The realization process for my project involved a massive amount of trial and error, research, and failures. I have to say that I failed many more times than I succeeded with configuring the servos with the Arduino. I went down many long roads to learn about prototyping with the breadboard, soldering, and redesigns of the final product. The most difficult part of the project aside from adjusting the gait of the walker for balance and movement was providing enough power to the servos without frying the microcontroller or any of the components. I was finally able to overcome these difficulties by implementing the Adafruit servo shield.

Check AtAt Project website for all info, parts list and upcoming tutorial!