A Makers Guide to Surviving the Walking DeadFollow article
The Walking Dead season 8 is back with a bang, and I mean quiet literally. Over the past few weeks we have seen explosions, battles and even a CGI tiger take down those dreaded saviours in the bid to win back their freedom in this never ending zombie apocalypse. Who will come out on top? Will it be Rick or Neegan?
As impressive as all these special effects, visual effects and yes even Shiva the tiger herself, my favourite scenes are when Rick and the team head out on a hunt for supplies and evidently ending up in all kinds of danger.
Being a massive Walking Dead fan I constantly find myself questioning the episodes and thinking of new crazy ways to keep safe and battle zombies if the day comes when we too wake up in the middle of an outbreak.
Harvesting Energy – Savaging Supplies
So first things first, if the world went to chaos and the apocalypse begins like in the very first season of TWD the national grid would soon shut down. Soon 4G and WIFI would be a thing of the past and gone are the days where you can aimlessly scroll Facebook, pose in front of this week’s top 10 Snapchat filters or snap your evening meal to Instagram. No, there will be no social media to consume our down time instead we will need to gather supplies to keep us alive! So with no electricity and all the time in the world now is the time to scavenge your supplies to generate your own energy. Maybe you can hunt the tools to build a solar panel and rely on the suns energy or perhaps a contraption that can convert physical movement into electricity.
First on my list would be batteries. Sourcing as many as physically possible. AA batteries are your best bet, these have longer shelf life and can operate most small appliances you’re going to need torches and the likes. These also run out of power slowly giving you some notice. For greater results, not that you can be choosy you’re in an apocalypse, after all, Lead-acid batteries found in a car, for example, generate and store the best energy. They work at low temperatures and are more accustomed to overcharging as opposed to other kinds of rechargeable batteries. There is one problem, they are pretty heavy so if you are looking for a fast getaway, maybe ditch the Lead Acids on this occasion, you don’t want to be weighed down whilst trying to out run a herd of walkers. If you’re a WD fan like me you soon learn it’s easier said than done.
After scavenging a power source, you can then harvest your energy in variety of ways including solar recharging if you can scavenge the resource to make your own solar panels, maybe even create a bicycle generator to power yourself or have a look at this article on the new WITT device – a device that can harvest chaotic movement from six degrees of motion into electrical energy.
Sound the alarm without ringing the dinner bell!
So we know from The Walking Dead that zombies are clumsy, careless and pretty stupid when it comes to getting around, when a walker has no target they are slow and drag their feet making it easy for them to trip and fall into a trap.
After generating your energy supply it might be a good idea to set up some Zombie alarms to keep you safe while you sleep and alert you of any oncoming threat. For a quick win why not install some trip wires with a twist. If by chance you stumble across a soldering iron or zombie apocalypse equivalent you could hook your trip wires up to a car alarm using a micro switch and some cabling to sound the alarm when a zombie hits the wire. Be sure to install an off switch, you don’t want an alarm going off indefinitely right beside your base camp!
Keep an eye on the dead with Raspberry Pi
Okay so maybe we don’t see Rick keeping an eye on Alexandria on his laptop cam or King Ezekiel inside the kingdom in his CCTV room, however maybe if they had a Raspberry Pi to hand they could create their own surveillance system and save on numbers watching over the gate.
The Raspberry Pi is a mini computer on a single board about the size of a credit card, and it uses less than 3W of power so easy to manage with limited energy source. If you can scavenge an old monitor mouse and keyboard and camera you can hook your pi up to create a surveillance camera using some of that harvested energy from your already sourced battery supplies.
Flashing Zombie Decoys
So our Walking Dead zombies are attracted to bright lights and loud noises, it is definitely worth setting up some decoy signals to draw zombies away in the event of an emergency. Just like the opening episode of season 8 when Daryl lights up the path way all the way to the saviours HQ leaving a clear map for the walkers to follow.
If you can scavenge some disposable cameras, you could rewire and hook them up to an Arduino to create a timed series of flashes for the ultimate walker distraction. Remove the casing first and identify the flash module capacitor, this is where the energy is stored in order to set the flash off. This is a large metallic cylinder with two leads connecting to the PCB. Next you need to attach your leads to the trigger contacts, you will need to solder these. Reassemble your camera and test your flash decoys. Link it up to your Arduino making sure all pins engage correctly with the Arduino shield. Each relay on the shield has 3 terminals, when the camera’s are connected to the correct relays, attach your battery clip to the barrel jack adapter to the Arduino. You will need to programme your Arduino accordingly.
Forget using your iphone to communicate, all the mobile networks will be down before you know it. You will have to take it old school with some two way radio systems.
You could always use another Raspbery Pi given the right software could act as a FM radio transmitter. You would need to scavenge a long wire to use for an antenna. Plug one end of the wire onto GPIO pin 4 on your Pi. Plug the antenna into the opposite end, fix this to a high place pulling the antenna to a vertical upright position. If this is a bit too tricky to master maybe just scavenge some battery operated walkie-talkies.
Tools to survive
And in case all else fails, a handy selection of tools will keep the Walkers at bay. Personally I would go with something strong, with performance and quality you can trust… maybe an RS Pro hammer or blade would do the trick.