Raspberry Pi RP2040 Plays Star Wars Death Star Animation

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Tod Kurt)

In honor of both Star Wars day and Revenge of the Fifth, maker and developer Tod Kurt has thrown together some cool microelectronics projects that pay homage to the classic space opera franchise. Using both a Raspberry Pi RP2040 and an ESP32, he created animations featuring the Death Star and targetting interface seen in the original trilogy.

This isn’t Kurt’s first project that uses the popular Raspberry Pi microcontroller. We recently covered his Raspberry Pi Pico breakbeat generator project, which uses the RP2040 board to automatically mix samples with a Circuit Python script for some sweet, on the fly jams.

These projects not only make use of our favorite microelectronics but also call back to the early Star Wars movies. The first project uses an ESP32 with an LCD screen to simulate the targeting animation seen by the Rebel Alliance as they sneak up on the Death Star’s reactor core with a couple of much-needed proton torpedoes. The second build uses an RP2040 with a round LCD to show off a cool animation of the Death Star itself.

The RP2040 used in the Death Star project is found on a QTPY RP2040 board from Adafruit. It’s connected to a GC9A01 round LCD — a module frequently found in smartwatches. To program the Death Star animation, Kurt opted to use Circuit Python and was kind enough to share the source code to GitHub.

The targeting animation module uses one of Adafruit’s ESP32-S2 TFT Feather boards. However, Kurt assures that any board capable of running Circuit Python with a display would work just as well. Just like the last project, the Circuit Python code used for this animation is available on GitHub for any interested parties.

If recreating one of these cool Star Wars-themed Raspberry Pi projects sounds fun or you just want to get a closer look at them in action, check out the original thread shared on Twitter by Kurt. Finding the right board to use is critical; you may want to check out our recent post covering this Raspberry Pi RP2040 board that integrates an ESP32 to get the best of both worlds. 

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.