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Arduino goes old school with The Avengers

The Avengers is a spy-fi British television series created way back in the 1960s. According to Wikipedia, The Avengers initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant John Steed (Patrick Macnee). The show ran from 1961 until 1969, screening as one hour episodes its entire run.

Recently, a Maker by the name of Simon Jansen decided to go old school by designing a John Steed replica marionette. To hang and control Steed, Jansen fashioned a simple vertical controller. Essentially, the arms are connected to wires that move up and down; while the legs attach to a cross piece that can be removed from the controller to allow the legs to be worked separately from the main control.

The electronics for Steed are controlled by an Atmel-powered Arduino, with speech capabilities provided by an Adafruit Waveshield. The Arduino also controls the servo that moves the eyes and the solenoid that opens the mouth.

“In addition to those I have a 433MHz ASK receiver that listens for the remote control signals to move his eyes and make him speak,” Jansen wrote in a recent blog post re-published on Makezine.

“There is also a Sharp IR distance sensor from Mindkits that I use to detect if anyone gets too close to Steed. The distance is settable via a potentiometer on the main board. Power is from a simple wall wart supply.”

In addition to the above, Jansen said he fashioned two remote controls that send signals to a receiver.

“The Arduino detects the signal, works out the period then triggers the appropriate action based on what the period is,” he explained. “I simply use a 555 timer circuit in the transmitter to send three different signals depending on which button, or combination of buttons, are pressed.”

Interested in learning more about the old school Steed? You can check out the original blog post here.

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