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VIDEO: Doctor Who’s sidekick K9 restored after being found neglected in Dundee lab

His electrics shot and left to gather dust in an Abertay University lab for years, Doctor Who’s iconic companion was far from his glory days travelling across time and space in the Tardis.

However, when fourth year Abertay University computing science student Gary Taylor came across the neglected robot pooch in September last year, he made it his mission to bring K9 back to life.

K9 takes to the streets of Dundee

The 25-year-old based his final year project around reviving the Doctor’s beloved companion, who was damaged and left immobile following a leak.

The K9 model is understood to be an original purchased by the university from the BBC during the 2011-12 academic year, when around a dozen were sold off.

It will be officially unveiled by Mr Taylor this Friday at Abertay’s Digital Graduate Show.

The student’s huge workload to rebuild the TV character included writing almost 15,000 lines of computing code and fitting it out with a gyroscope, ultrasound sensors, and new boards, motors, shields and drives.

The finished product is described as an “autonomous obstacle-avoiding mapping robot”.

“It all started just as an honours idea that came out. It was pitched to me by a bunch of supervisors,” Mr Taylor said.

“As soon as I heard the idea I was so keen to get on to it. I emailed the supervisor that day saying ‘I have got to do this’.

“I love robotics and I love programming and I love dogs and I love Doctor Who. It’s a good mix of everything — it kept me really invested in the whole thing throughout the whole project.

Gary Taylor and his creation

“He had a lot of water damage from a roof leak so all the electrics in him had just fried. He was literally just a shell. He was just sitting, doing nothing.

“I don’t think anyone had even tried really to get him back up and running. Not effectively.”

K9’s movements can be both tracked and controlled using a mobile app created by Mr Taylor.

He added: “Once it started actually all coming together and everything started working it honestly felt amazing. It started off as nothing but problems.

“It was turning left when it should have been going right and things like that. There was just a lot of difficulties with it.”

Mr Taylor, who lives in Dundee but is originally from Kirriemuir, worked on the project without the help of other students – but credits his lecturers with guiding him through it.

He said: “It was a lot of work. If it wasn’t for the university lecturers helping me and guiding me along the way and showing me how to do things I’d be nowhere near finished.”

Mr Taylor said he wants to go one step further and even make K9 speak with the original voice of the character, which was first portrayed by John Leeson.

He also hopes to get his creation to a point where it can freely roam without bumping into objects.

The Abertay Digital Graduate Show will take place from May 11-15, displaying the work of students from the School of Design and Informatics from virtual reality to animations and illustrations.

The output of more than 100 graduates will be showcased at the five-day festival held at the university’s Student Centre, with guided tours and walks taking place.

Show curator Clare Brennan said: “The Abertay Digital Graduate Show seems to get better every year and I love how the work produced by our students develops alongside the technology that’s available to them.

“Although Abertay is known the world over for excellence computer games education, this show is about so much more than that – you simply won’t find a broader depth and diversity of digital work on display anywhere else.”

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