To those of us of a certain vintage, Knight Rider — a TV show starring a young, bouffant David Hasselhoff pre-Berlin Wall, and a talking Pontiac Firebird Trans Am called KITT — was generationally defining. At least one person at Pi Towers was subject to a first crush thanks to the show; and not on the man driving the car, but on the car itself, giving a whole new meaning to the word “metrosexual”. (That wasn’t me. My first crush was on Aramis, the cartoon spaniel from Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds.)
In the early days of Raspberry Pi, there was talk of renaming the Raspberry Pi Foundation, our education arm, as the Foundation for Law and Government, after the shadowy-but-benign entity that gave KITT and the gloriously hairy Michael Knight their instructions. But we thought that probably sounded a bit fashy and so dropped the idea.
My son is called Kit.
So you can imagine the unparalleled excitement that descended when we spotted this on Reddit. Maker Fred Arias has been posting updates to a build he’s working on: an interactive KITT powered by an RP2040.
Fred says: “For hardware, I’m using a Waveshare RP2040-Plus along with a DAC to convert audio into analog since all the audio files are saved to flash memory and need to be processed through an LED driver board to control the VU meter which is KITT’s LED bars. There’s also a PDM microphone that measures incoming sound along with an IR sensor to detect motion. All of the code is written in CircuitPython.” As with all the best projects, this one’s been a learning process: Fred started out on breadboard and has learned how to design PCBs to cut down on the spaghetti.
And just look at that finish.
Fred is open-sourcing the whole project and plans to have a series of videos up about it when he’s finished.
Jump in my car
There exist, so I am told, those who lived through the first great Hasselhoff-in-a-car cultural moment and yet missed the subsequent one. This video is for you guys. You’re welcome.