James Bruton builds a walking AT-AT robot
Was there anything more exciting than watching AT-ATs walk across Hoth towards the Rebel base for the first time? Those massive machines were iconic and helped to solidify The Empire Strikes Back as the best movie set in the Star Wars universe. After experiencing disappointment with AT-AT toys that couldn’t walk, James Bruton built his own AT-AT robot that strolls with the best of them.
While Bruton’s 3D-printed robot isn’t an exact replica of an AT-AT and doesn’t incorporate all of the design elements, it does walk a lot like what we all saw in the movie. Those AT-ATs had a very distinctive way of moving and the robot does a good job of mimicking their gait. It incorporates two key elements: forward knees and feet that remain level with the ground during a stride. Bruton’s robot has legs made up of parallel linkages in order to replicate that movement.
Each leg requires three servo motors: two for the hip and one for the knee. That’s a total of 12 servos, which Bruton controlled with an Arduino Mega 2560 board. It receives commands from Bruton’s own universal DSM remote through a DSM radio receiver module. The robot lacks sensors and autonomy, so Bruton has to pilot it himself. After he solved some minor balance issues caused by the weighty head, the mini AT-AT was able to walk very well and it should excite every Star Wars fan.