This Portal fan brought Wheatley to life as his own personal assistant


This Portal fan brought Wheatley to life as his own personal assistant

Arduino TeamNovember 19th, 2021

The video game Portal 2 is widely regarded as a classic that introduced players to several memorable characters, including one of the main protagonists-turned-antagonists, Wheatley. This anthropomorphized personal assistance robot was able to move, speak, and listen/respond to speech from a user, which is exactly what Steve Turner was trying to recreate when he built his own version of Wheatley. His animatronic device starts by waking up, and from there it selects a folder of audio files to play at random. Additionally, its AI-powered interactivity is provided by an Amazon Echo Dot via Alexa and the Arduino Cloud

In order to generate eye movements, Wheatley’s five servo motors are controlled by a single Nano 33 IoT, where three are dedicated to moving the eye and two move the eyelids up and down. As for storing the nearly 900 audio files, a DFPlayer Mini and an SD card hold them all for later playback by a BC127 Bluetooth audio module. This package is able to read files from the SD card and output them over Bluetooth to the Echo Dot, which in this case acts as a wireless speaker. Finally, the central “eye” can change colors via three independently addressable RGB LED rings to show Wheatley’s current status.

When put together, all these components comprise a project that closely mimics Wheatley from Portal 2 and having a way to interact with it through voice commands makes it even better. You can see this project in action below, or watch its build log here.

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