Chinese Hacker Creates Voice-Controlled R2-D2

All the women out there whose men just don't cut it in the gift department, gaze upon the glory of Lingxiang Xiang and despair at your man yet again handing you the same old wilted roses and chalky chocolates. For this is a man who has given his girlfriend the gift of R2-D2.

Using a Raspberry Pi, which despite its delicious name is actually a credit-card sized computer capable of many of the basic functions of a full sized PC, Xiang gutted a life sized R2-D2 toy, installed said device and using technoloigcal wizardry beyond those of us mortals, made the droid almost as clever as his film counterpart.

"My original plan was to build a Wall-E robot, which seems more cute and therefore might be more attractive to my girlfriend," says Xiang, who is currently working for a Ph.D. in Computer Science, "Unfortunately, Wall-E toys available in the market are too small for Raspberry Pi hacking. The R2-D2 toy is larger and I happened to find that one guy was selling several unworkable R2-D2 toys for a low price. So I bought one immediately and started to hack it. This means that, yes, you guessed it. R2-D2 was not the droid he was looking for.

The droid is capable of motion & face tracking, moving with about the same grace as his film counterpart, and can even respond to voice commands and play messages - which are audio only, sadly. Now you might be thinking that Lingxiang Xiang is just about the best nerd baller this side of Saskatchewan, but it gets better.

He was able to construct this little fella all without the knowledge or suspicion of his significant other, who when surprised on her birthday declared it "the best gift she has ever received." With this act, Xiang not only outshines ever man who has ever gotten anyone anything, but also old Anakin himself. When HE built a droid for the special lady in his life, it was to help his mother around the house, and to that end he built a droid that could not perform housework.

Lingxiang 1 - Anakin 0.

Jamie O'Flinn