Development of control systems for the robot Gorby in SVT's Christmas calendar the year of 2017 called Tidskristallen

About the case

In front of SVT’s “Time Crystal” – Christmas Calendar 2017, Spree developed the robot Gorby’s control system.

Thanks to a wireless controller, all robot functions can be controlled such as head, wheels, arms and ears.

Spree also developed a lighting system and associated application to lab scenes in production. The system is developed specifically for use during recording.

Using the application, the user can create custom light animations to get the desired results for the scenes.

Connected to an Arduino Mega

Gorbys brain

Gorby’s brain consists of an Arduino Mega. There are a number of devices connected, mainly a USB Host device, to which a wireless controller can be connected. With it, all of the robot’s functions can be controlled. Gorby has two individually driven wheels to move, making him move like a trolley. His arms can move at the shoulder in a joint, up or down. His head can be raised and lowered, and he can wrap his ears. In addition, he also has a face in the form of an iPad, which in theory can show any facial expressions.


To Arduino Mega, a USB Host device is primarily connected to which a wireless controller can be connected. In this case an X-box 360 control.


The prototype work of Gorby's steering system was performed in Lego robot building.

The face

In addition, he also has a face in the form of an iPad, which in theory can show any facial expressions. The face is not developed by Spree.

3 batteries and 7 engines

Gorbys driving force

Three batteries are running Gorby. A 12V motorcycle battery with 20Ah, and two smaller 5V batteries of each 2600mAh connected to 10V drive the logic. Series connected because the USB host device requires at least 5V to function reliably, and for the Arduino to deliver 5 volts stable, the voltage needs to be slightly higher.
Gorby has three-piece DC motors, two to their wheels, and one to raise and lower the head. In addition to these, Gorby also has four servo motors, one for each arm, and one for each ear.
Motors need drive circuits that manage to drive as strong currents as engines of that size require. For this reason, he is equipped with two 12A drive circuits, which can drive two motors each. The servomotors do not need separate drive circuits, but on their own power supply, and therefore have separate voltage regulators that reduce the voltage from 12V to 4.7V.


A 12V Motorcycle Battery with 20Ah.

Two smaller 5V batteries / 2600mAh.


Three DC motors.

Four servo motors.

User-friendlyaudio system

LED Control Manager.

LED Control Manager is a lighting system that was developed alongside an associated application where the production team of the Christmas calendar could easily set its own light animations to produce different desired results for recording environments.
In the application, single base units can be controlled and animated separately, and sequences can be played live.
The animations are created by switching lights on and off using checkboxes.

About Warner Bros

“Warner Bros. International Television Production Sweden AB is a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. -one of the largest international media companies. WBITVP Sverige AB is a creative talented production company that develops, produces and distributes content in various genres including reality, facts, documentaries and entertainment.

The company delivers original programs to SVT and all the commercial channels, and we also have a long experience of adapting international formats to the Swedish market.”