Ian Renton

Ian Renton

Software engineer and builder of robots
Bournemouth, UK

Hi! I'm Ian Renton. By day, I am a software and systems engineer in the naval defence industry, specialising in command & control of autonomous vehicles and communications networks. By night I build robots and web applications, and play with radios, alongside being a husband, father, cook and gardener.

Hardware and Robotics
A military tactical software display showing symbols representing boats and planes


"Plane/Sailing" is my home aircraft and ship tracker. It receives ADS-B, AIS & APRS signals via antennas on my house, processes them to share with popular tracking websites, and displays the combined results on a website using military symbology.

A wide screen showing a meteogram and other weather/calendar information

Home Meteogram Display

My home Meteogram display is a passive weather and calendar display that lives in the kitchen and provides a customised weather forecast for the coming days on an ultra-wide screen.

The Raspberry Tank, a model Tiger tank shown with a camera and sensors fitted

Raspberry Tank

The Raspberry Tank was possibly the first tank-like robot powered by a Raspberry Pi, way back in 2012. It’s smartphone- or laptop-controlled, streams video from its webcam, fires plastic pellets and can navigate autonomously.

USV-01, a Raspberry Pi-controlled model boat

USV-01 “Harry Paye”

USV-01 “Harry Paye” is an off-the-shelf remote control boat refitted as a testbed for an autonomous navigation system, capable of speeds up to 40 knots.

A quadcopter fitted with a Raspberry Pi, sat on grass


Because the Raspberry Tank was confined to just the two boring dimensions, I built a quadcopter and put a Raspberry Pi on that too. It features live video streaming and is switchable between remote and autonomous control.

All-Terrain Pi, a Raspberry Pi-controlled ATV toy

All-Terrain Pi

The All-Terrain Pi is a “off-road” remote control toy fitted with a Raspberry Pi, with live video streaming, controllable by touch/tilt input from a smartphone, and capable of running programs written in Scratch.

Lego Turtle, an Arduino-controlled Lego Mindstorms robot

Lego Turtle

The Lego Turtle is an Arduino microcontroller retro-fitted onto an old Lego Mindstorms kit. It features a built-in interpreter for simple Logo programs loaded via the serial port.

A Linx 1010B tablet running Ubuntu

Linux on Linx 1010B Tablet

A guide on how to install Linux, plus a few bonus operating systems, on the low-cost Linx 1010B Windows tablet.

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Software and Websites
A knife cutting into a roast chicken

Roast Dinner Timing Chart

Some Javascript magic to help you cook the perfect Sunday roast. Simply select your ingredients and a time to serve, and it will generate you a list of timed steps.

A table of Minecraft items and prices

Hypixel Skyblock Bazaar Flipping Calculator

A quick weekend project to help my kid make money in the Hypixel Skyblock Minecraft server, this has simple tool has rapidly become the most searched-for of all my software.

Blue and red stylised 2D boats shooting at each other

Sea Battle

A quick-and-dirty 2D RTS game inspired by the unit customisation mechanics of Warzone 2100.

More Software »       More Websites »


Spring, Year Four

Spring, year four. Just like each of the last thirty-something years, the blooming of the lilac trees brings with it May Day, my birthday, and the acceleration of Spring into the coming Summer. For the first time since I was three years old, one of those lilacs is in my own garden. It’s a small start to what will some day become a big tree. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here three years already. Time flies when you’re having...

Making Meteograms in Python

I have a couple of Raspberry Pi computers sitting around, and given the recent situation I figured I ought to at least use one for something. I thought I would have a go at some kind of passive information display, and discovered these ultra-widescreen displays which look pretty cool. At the same time, I’ve been noticing a few limitations in my usual weather app at this changeable time of year. For example, when a daily forecast says “lows of 0°C”,...

Getting the Boat Back Together

After seven years sat in storage, I have finally decided to dig my old RC boat out and have another go at it. I last touched it seven years ago, when I got it working as a remote control toy, but stopped short of getting it fully autonomous. There were a number of problems with getting the hardware small enough to fit, and a general lack of enthusiasm on the software side as a result. However, when bored and looking...

More Blog Posts »

A photo of the Red Arrows


A bunch of my best photos over the years.

A screenshot from the film 'Sharknado'

Film Reviews (by the Numbers)

By the combined powers of Netflix and cheap cider, the Saturday Night Shenanigans crew presents… largely incoherent mocking of films!