Nvidia Jetson Brings Star Wars Pit Droid to Life

(Image credit: Nvidia, Goran Vuksic)

One of the coolest things about getting into microelectronics is recreating fun props and gadgets from your favorite sci-fi movies. Developer Goran Vuksic has done just that with this super impressive Star Wars pit droid replica. In the movies, this little guy can be found maintaining podracers for races held at places like Mos Espa on Tattooine. In real life, this pit droid replica is used to demonstrate the awesome creative potential of Nvidia’s Jetson Orin Nano Developer Kit.

This kit debuted with a price of $499 and has enough processing power in a tiny package to handle some rather capable AI use cases. Vuksic wanted to create the droid not only for fun but also for the chance to share it with others when speaking at various tech conferences. The droid is able to interact with the world around him using image recognition thanks to the Jetson Orin Nano Dev Kit.

This custom made pit droid is quite large for a replica. It stands just under 4 feet high and has an articulated head capable of turning towards objects. To see the world around it, the droid is equipped with a simple webcam for visual input.

The body was 3D printed by Vuksic just for this project. It’s fitted with a cavity in the head to house the Jetson Orin Nano Developer Kit as well as the webcam. There are a couple of motors thrown into the mix that enable the head to look around and respond to objects in real-time based on the camera input.

There are tons of options out there when it comes to what software you can use with the Jetson Orin Nano dev kit. In this case, Vuksic is using Microsoft Azure to train the droid’s object detection capabilities. With this, he can program it to look at and track objects.

If you want to get a closer look at this Star Wars pit droid replica, check out the blog post shared by Nvidia that has more details and an in-depth look at what led Vuksic to creating this cool project.

Ash Hill
Contributing Writer

Ash Hill is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.

  • bit_user
    As cool as the replica looks, it just makes it that much more disappointing that it can't actually walk around on its own.