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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

More Hardware & Robotics »

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 »


Look Mum, I made an AI!

All the cool kids are making AI these days, and probably dooming the human race or whatever, so I made one too. Caveat: might just be a Markov chain bot? Ten years ago (ten years?!) I took part in something called NaNoGenMo—National Novel Generation Month. An alternative to its much more famous counterpart NaNoWriMo, NaNoGenMo eschewed the sloppy process of human imagination and instead asked its nerdy participants to generate novels automatically instead. What a fun silly idea, we thought....

Rejecting the Infinite Scroll

In an effort to be more conscious about time spent idly scrolling through “content” on my phone every day, I’ve decided on a new policy for apps: no infinite scroll. By this I mean making an effort not to use any app that offers an endless feed of posts or other content just by scrolling. My use of Reddit was always quite passive, just scrolling forever through a list of semi-interesting things and not interacting. I’ve gone back in time...

Winter, Year Three

Winter, Year Three. The cats put up with the frozen ground, while the foxes snooze on tarpaulin covering soil fertilised ready for the year to come.

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!