The Hacksmith: Building a Jedi Training Droid

By The Hacksmith

This project was created by Engineering Superheroes of Hackmith Industries.


Hacksmith Industries is well-versed in recreating iconic Star Wars technology. Having built six different versions of the lightsaber, the team is now taking on a new project — building a Jedi training droid. In this Hacksmith video, James does his best Luke Skywalker impression, going through a Dagobah training montage in hopes of becoming a Jedi Knight. Of course, even with that done, he’ll need more equipment, including his own training droid!

Lightsaber training droids were first seen all the way back in “A New Hope” in 1977: Obi-wan Kenobi places a helmet with the blast shield on Luke Skywalker’s head so he can deflect small laser blasts from the floating ball with his lightsaber. The training droids are also used by young trainees at Courscant’s Jedi temple in “Attack of the Clones.”

It might not have the raw heat of a lightsaber, but these small floating balls require quite a bit of planning and work to get going. To recreate one, the Hacksmith team needs something that can hover in the air, take aim, and fire projectiles -- all autonomously! Check out how a Jedi training droid is made in the video below.


How Does it Work?

One of the key aspects of the training droid is its ability to track the Jedi. To enable this feature, a camera must be installed in the droid. The Hacksmith used the Zed Camera, which is designed for 3D motion sensing and tracking.

Another critical feature is the droid’s ability to hover in the air while it trains young Jedi. For this project, the droid is held airborne by a custom drone designed by Sophie, Hacksmith Industries’ intern from the University of Waterloo.

A mechanism must also be installed to fire things at the Jedi. Sophie designed one in SolidWorks and 3D printed it to shoot Nerf balls at Padawans. The device works similar to a pitching machine — a servo motor moves a gate that controls how fast balls can roll into firing position and be launched by the motors that spin rapidly.

Finally, to ensure all of these systems work together seamlessly, a custom code and custom-designed PCB is used to connect the flight, camera, and firing systems to an NVIDIA Jetson computer that controls the training drone.

Schematic and BOM

Check out Sophie’s drone design in the schematic below!


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