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On Farscape, Moya was serviced by a fleet of Diagnostic Repair Drones, or DRDs for short. I've been trying to find out how those DRDs that featured on the show - One-Eye, DRD Pike and 1812, and the nameless others - were operated by the show's technical crew.

Were they radio-controlled, like a toy car? Were they pulled around on wires? Was there some over-complicated arrangement with magnets pulled around under the set's floor? Were there tiny puppeteers in green-screen suits that were erased in post-production?

I've Googled around for it, but all I could find was a lot of sites selling DRD replicas, some even looking similar to the original, or YouTube videos helping you build one on your own from a kit or completely from scratch. No behind-the-scenes information about how they did it on the show.

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    I'd imagine they were remote controlled - but all the Farscape wikia has to say on the matter is that "they were not made from bicycle helmets". – HorusKol Apr 2 '13 at 21:53
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DRDs or Diagnostic Repair Drones which appeared in the Farscape series were a mixture of remote controlled vehicle and computer programmable device. Note the remote controls next to the device and the internal motherboard. Given they were produced by Jim Henson Studios I am not surprised they were hand made with loving detail. They were quite expensive to build and design with "fully functional" ones cost over $10,000 each.

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  • The only name I could find associated with the design of DRDs was Andre Potappel who now works at Gizmo Workshop in Sydney Australia (pictured above)

  • They had sophisticated programming such as the chase lights on the bottom which moved fast when the DRD moved but slowed when they came to rest.

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  • There were two attachment points for peripherals with 7 variations, the claw, the projector arm, the "gatling gun", the injector, the "canon", the plow and the sprayer.

  • One had movable eyes which could move independent of each, but most only had eyes that were slaved together.

  • The single most functional one had full forward/reverse motion, speed regulated baselights, full motion projector arm, working claw, working "wings", slaved eye stalks and pop-up "siren" lights.

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  • The more advanced units had plates that could be added or removed along with LED plates for different lighting when a plate was missing.

  • Though it was hard to tell the devices were quite large, much larger than they appeared as the moved through the corridors of Moya.

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Given the expense of the fully functioning DRDs, I suspect they made varying levels of technical sophistication depending on what was needed when filming was being done.

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