Interactive KITT from Knight Rider

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.)

KITT love

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.

Knightrider KITT interactive car
Fred’s KITT control panel

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.

10 comments
Jump to the comment form

Ashley Whittaker

David Bowie in his lilac tights in Labyrinth for me.
(Or Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid)

Reply to Ashley Whittaker

Avatar

Strange isn’t it…..
In the short clip u got kitt with the season 3 and season 4 voice module……but they get u to make the voice module from season 1 and season 2. 🫤

Reply to Matt Ayres

Ashley Whittaker

Your KITT intel is far, far superior to mine…

Reply to Ashley Whittaker

Avatar

Must be the UK version of KITT in that video.

Reply to Roger Morris

Avatar

No it’s the American voice module. For the majority of season 3 and season 4, that’s what KITT looked like after Bonnie replaced April in season 3 and came back to FLAG. When a missle blew up KITT in Knight of the Drones, Bonnie said she would make KITT better than new and KITT got the new makeover you see there with several new capabilities as well.

Reply to Josh

Avatar

You must’ve misunderstood my lame attempt at humor. In the music video, David Hasselhoff is driving on the right side of the car. Not sure if the video was inverted, but it was just an observation provided with bad humor.

Reply to Roger Morris

Avatar
Toby Roberts

Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting was my 80s crush. Those were the days.

Reply to Toby Roberts

Ashley Whittaker

A classic, Toby. My first girl crush was Christine Baranski in the sitcom Cybill. I wanted to grow up to be a woman who could recall the outfit she was wearing on any given day in history. And I have.

Reply to Ashley Whittaker

Liz Upton

Ah, I am going to BE Christine Baranski in Cybill when I grow up. Massively underappreciated show.

Reply to Liz Upton

Replying to Liz Upton
Cancel reply?