Fitz Walker has built a life-size replica of Doctor Who’s canine companion, but this Raspberry Pi-powered recreation comes with a few more bells and whistles than you might remember from the TV original.
The italics make that subheading funny. Fight me. Anyway, for those not familiar with the Who-niverse: K9 was the Doctor’s doggy robot companion and mobile computer. K9 could do anything from scanning for medical issues to chasing down evil guards.
Fun fact from the build video: while K9 was a 1970s-era character, first appearing alongside the great Tom Baker, he also swooped in to rescue David Tennant in 2006. Gen X viewers exploded with nostalgia when the scene aired.
What can K9 do?
Lots of authentic features from the TV show have been replicated in Fitz’s model K9. His iconic ears twist back and forth, a probe emerges from his forehead to detect alien life, and his antenna tail wags in all directions. Touch sensors on his body detect when he’s being patted so that his tail can dutifully wag, and sensors in his head make his ears wiggle when you pat him there.
A Raspberry Pi runs the video monitor in K9’s side. It also interfaces with a camera and a thermal printer, giving K9 the unique function of taking photos and printing them through his mouth. While the video monitor wasn’t used much in the TV show, technology has moved on since, so Fitz was able to give K9 an upgrade here. The screen shows bystanders what has been photographed and sent to print, as well as playing videos and games.
Maker Fitz has plans to make K9’s Raspberry Pi work a little harder in the future by adding voice recognition capabilities. Then he’ll be able to respond obediently to his master, Fitz, and ignore all other requests.
Visit Fitz the maker’s channel
While we stumbled across this K9 replica thanks to The 8-Bit Guy, Fitz has his own YouTube channel, HobbyView, and is big into remote-controlled planes and cars. He also swears by the League City, Texas Creatorspace, if you’re in the area and looking for some space and tools to work alongside like-minded tinkerers.