Project Showcase: Andrew & Zara’s Zombie Defense System

What combines automatic door locks. holy water spray and raspberry PI, arduino, sensors and python programming? This Coolest Projects which was built to detect and defend against Zombies of course!

Andrew & Zara, both from London, made a fascinating coolest project called ‘Zombie Defense System’ and presented it at Coolest Projects UK in 2018 .

The project included a touchscreen interactive presentation explaining the project, and an Arduino-based animated sign with various parts to counter zombies.

“The presentation is as important as the build.” – Andrew, 12

The project was based around a Raspberry Pi and sensors, with an animated sign made with an Arduino. The project was driven by being inventive with the equipment they had, buying just a few additional parts.

Andrew was 12 and Zara was 11 when they entered their projects to Coolest Projects UK. They had been friends for some time, but went to different schools until recently when two of them moved to the same secondary school. They went to Code Club in their primary school, but this project was something they did at home. They spent about a day each week for a month working on it in the run up to the event.

One focused on hardware, one on Python programming, and the other on C programming with the Arduino.  One of the team had learnt C from scratch to program the Arduino; another had learnt to use an interface chip for the various sensors and hardware they used.

Read Andrew’s answers to our Q&A  about their project here.

Where did your idea for your Coolest Projects come from?

I did the (Raspberry Pi initiative) Pioneers before and decided to do it again. I teamed up with Zara and we had lots of ideas so we built something with all of them in.  Zara found a picture of a church with a holy water tap outside, so an automatic holy water spray for zombies was one idea. The door lock was something I wanted to do anyway, so we did it.  I had wanted it on my bedroom door, but I was not allowed.

How long did it take to make your project?

Not long; just a couple of weeks.  Because it was a lot of small builds joined together it was always easy to work on.  I started with the ultrasound sensor, then the water spray, then the remote camera, then the doorlock, then the microbit alert, then the solar panel, then the rest.  Just kept adding bits.

What were the hardest parts of making the project? What were the best parts?

Building the door lock out of mecano was hard. It kept sticking and I had to re design it. The best part was making the video, which Zara and I edited together from scenes her dad shot.  Zara wrote the script.

What did it feel like to present your project at Coolest Projects ?

Exciting. Little bit nervous, but mostly exciting.

What was your favourite part of the Coolest Projects experience? What was the biggest lesson you learnt?

My favourite part was the atmosphere and the talks.  The presentation is as important as the build.

6. If you could give advice to other young people applying to Coolest Projects what would it be?

The presentation is as important as the build.  We had fun making lots of Zombie posters, one had a Zombie holding a Raspberry Pi touch screen (our prize) playing videos of the project.]

View Andrew & Zara’s presentation video here: