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Celebrate Star Wars Day with this list of force-inspired projects

Arduino TeamMay 4th, 2023

“May the Fourth be with you” is one of those sayings that has been ingrained into our culture thanks to the popularity of Star Wars, and few things represent its impact more than the custom props, costumes, and projects that fans from around the world have constructed. To celebrate this year’s “holiday,” here is a list of Arduino-powered builds from a makerspace in a galaxy far, far away that’ll awaken the DIY force in you!

A Virtual Platform for Blaster Props

The plasma/laser blaster is an iconic weapon in the Stars Wars universe, with nearly every character having used one at some point. To make the creation of blaster props easier, YouTuber CCHobbyFun came up with a system based on the Arduino Nano Every which allows for an ammo counter, animated scope display, and LEDs to be connected. In addition to these features, it also supports sound effects via an MP3 player and speaker combination.

Communications Interceptor

Ever wanted to listen in on conversations by enemy storm troopers and battle droids? This device by The Last Outpost Workshop on YouTube now lets you by presenting users with a switch to go between storm trooper or droid mode. After making a selection, various conversations are played in a loop using an Arduino Nano and MP3 player and audio levels are displayed via an LED matrix at the top.

Meet DO-BB1, a Blend of Droids BB-8 and DO

Apart from R2-D2 and C-3PO, no other droid is quite as recognizable as BB-8 from the sequels. However, rather than just building another BB-8 clone, Eric Ameres blended the droid with the shape of DO to create a self-balancing platform. He incorporated an Arduino Uno, a gyroscope, and some motors to drive the two hemispheres and tilt/rotate the head on top.

This Robotic Baby Yoda Follows You

Two years ago, maker Manguel Ahumada set about devising a fully autonomous Baby Yoda robot inspired by the Mandalorian TV series that uses AI to follow him around. Beyond processing image data and sending commands to the motors via a Raspberry Pi, the robot also employs an Arduino Pro Micro to read incoming sensor data.

Star Wars-Themed Smart Lamp

Wanting to combine all of the most notable imagery of the Star Wars universe into a single project, Kutluhan Aktar developed his own smart lamp with a twist. Each component, including the Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense, fans, and more, were soldered to the amazingly-designed Millenium Falcon PCB and then attached to the 3D-printed base. With this, he could view environmental data in real-time thanks to a mobile app and turn the lights on or off. 

Smartphone-Controlled BB-8 Droid

One of the reasons why assembling working models of BB-8 is so difficult is due to how the droid is able to roll in any direction while still keeping its head upright. Ilge Ipek’s innovative design moves his custom Arduino Nano board and two motors inside of the main ball while using magnets at the top to maintain the head’s position in addition to providing fully wireless control over Bluetooth.

This Robot Moves Just Like B2EMO From Andor

YouTuber James Bruton is famous for his robot-building abilities, and his B2EMO chassis from the Andor series takes this to the next level. Based on the Arduino Mega 2560 and an nRF24L01 radio transceiver module, his robot can drive in any direction thanks to its omnidirectional wheels while also being able to stretch and tilt in a lifelike manner.

The Hacksmith’s Mandalorian Jetpack

Widely regarded as one of the most “out-there” making YouTube channels, the Hacksmith specializes in building the impossible, and their Mandalorian-themed jetpack is no exception. It was constructed from a pair of nozzles which are actuated by a solenoid valve and a gimbal mechanism- all controlled via an Arduino Mega 2560. 

Animatronic BD-1 That Sits on Your Shoulder

Everybody loves a cute companion robot that can accompany you anywhere, so better to combine that idea with than the BD-1 droid from the Star Wars: The Fallen Order video game. The robot is primarily built using a Raspberry Pi 4, although an Arduino Leonardo and a Nano Every also make appearances to do everything from speaking to moving its arms and even project images onto a wall.