With so many Raspberry Pi projects out there, it can be hard to find one you really want to build. Our advice is to find a way to marry Pi with something you really love. One notable example is television and film robots, iconic characters from popular science fiction that can be recreated at home using the built-in Raspberry Pi.

Once your robot is built, it will be able to speak commands when a condition is met (maybe a sensor will detect motion). Or he can get around by learning about the environment or reading information from Wikipedia.

Whatever you have in mind, everything should be relatively easy to plan and execute. However, this may take some time. Here are five sample projects that show how you can combine your Raspberry Pi 2 or later with your favorite fictional robot.


We all wanted our own astromech droid, didn’t we? Of course, no one in the world (currently) uses a low speed drive, but a droid Star Wars R2-D2 has much more capabilities than maintenance of an airborne spacecraft. For example, he can hold torches, carry a tray of drinks, and launch lightsabers through pits in the desert.

Okay, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your R2-D2 robot to do this… but don’t let that put you off. Look at this little guy running a Raspberry Pi.

Although this project was based on an existing R2-D2 toy, this should not limit your ambition. You will find many builds of R2-D2 on YouTube. There is a huge community of R2-D2 developers online. Finding someone with a drive should be ideal for integrating a Raspberry Pi (and possibly an Arduino you can use together) and developing a more realistic R2-D2 experience.

In short, this is the droid you are looking for.

2. Dalek

Admittedly, the Daleks are more cyborg than robot as they have organic components (particularly a brain), although some episodes Doctor Who contradict this (it has been running since 1963, so such an oversight is understandable). But that’s a trivial matter when it comes to being able to automate a life-sized toy or Dalek with a Raspberry Pi!

There are several projects on the net that will allow you to control a Dalek toy or a model of your own production using a Raspberry Pi. Our favorite is probably RaspiMower, a random project whose developer started building an automated lawn mower and ended up with an alien-killing machine.

It happens.

However, you will find many more examples of what can be done. Here’s a great video (no instructions, unfortunately) of how the head of a Dalek without a dome rotates, the eye stem rises and falls. This was made possible by the Raspberry Pi and some Python code.

In the meantime, if you want to add some ringtone modulation (the technical name for the effect used for Dalek voice actors), take a look at our guide to creating sounds with Audacity.

Whichever approach you take, remember that the Daleks cannot climb stairs without visual effects or without an elevator.

3. KIT

Classic TV show from the 1980s Knight Rider ostensibly starred David Hasselhoff, but all the fans know that the real star was KITT. The Knight Industries Two Thousand computer built into the Trans Am sports car is essentially an AI smart computer. Think about the new car you were sitting outside and how the built-in computer keeps track of everything. Knight Rider predicted this in about 20 years, epitomizing the development at KITT.

You can start with a simple KITT/Cylon red LED glow effect, and the video below shows what can be achieved when trying to recreate a car console:

However, you can go even further. The AutoPi project pairs the Google Assistant with your car’s OBD-II port, allowing you to communicate with the onboard computer via your Raspberry Pi. It won’t take long to dress this up in the design above.

Admittedly, you will need a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am to complete the robot build. However, this unlikely component should not put you off. In the original series, KITT was transplanted (albeit temporarily) into other vehicles.

If this all seems a bit complicated, we have a tutorial on how to make your own LED scanner. led scanner with nothing more than an Arduino!

4 Hal 9000

Perhaps the most infamous movie robot, the Hal 9000 is admittedly not a standard walking robot. Rather, he is a sentient computer whose job it is to watch over the Discover One spacecraft in Stanley Kubrick’s » 2001: space odyssey» (1968).

His role as an antagonist in the film and his calm voice (thanks to actor Douglas Rein) have instilled Hal 9000 in the minds of sci-fi fans over the years. Now you can recreate the Hal 9000 using modern materials and a Raspberry Pi computer. You will find detailed information in this guide, but please note that it is not possible to use Hal’s original voice. However, you must have multiple voices available.

One word of caution: be careful when programming your own Hal 9000. He may disagree with you for several reasons…

«What do you think you’re doing, Dave?»

5. K-9

Back to Doctor Who, now, and the ever-popular robot dog (is that his name, geddit?) who traveled in the TARDIS from 1977-1981. And returned briefly in 2006 before moving on to a spin-off show and finally getting his own 2010 series.

In retro style, several attempts have been made to replicate the K-9 with a Raspberry Pi in the center.

However, you should start with a project developed by an outstanding IBM engineer, Richard Hopkins. It has made your work available for Unlicense use at k9-build.blogspot.co.uk .

However, as with the Daleks and R2-D2, there are many building projects for the exterior and drive of the K-9. You can check them out before you start building and integrating your Raspberry Pi.

«Positive, Master.»

Why not collect them all?!

No, you’re right: it’s a bit ambitious. But hopefully this has helped you focus on the robot you are must build. Whatever you’re a fan of, it needs to be a robot or TV robot to create your own version. Just make sure you keep your Raspberry Pi at the center of the project!

Have you built your own R2-D2 or Dalek? Installed KITT in your Trans-Am? Traveling through time and space with your very own K-9? Or are you trapped in orbit around Jupiter with a conspiratorial sentient computer?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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