When the Doctor met the Dalek

November 24 2016

An interactive adventure through space and time occurred in Bishopston when Dr Alex Lenz from UWE’s Robotics department met Dale the Dalek and his owner, Keith Walker, sharing the vital knowledge that will propel Keith's latest charity project to greatness.

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An interactive adventure through space and time occurred in Bishopston when Dr Alex Lenz from UWE’s Robotics department met Dale the Dalek and his owner, Keith Walker, sharing the vital knowledge that will propel Keith's  latest charity project to greatness.

Keith is raising money for Children’s Hospice South West and has installed a 12 hole crazy golf course in his front garden. In previous years he’s hosted Dale the Dalek, the all year beach, and an impromptu garden stage at Window  Wanderland. 

Dr Lenz, originally from Germany, has helped with the automation of one of the holes - the final spectacular on a course that is full of surprises.

He said: “It is all about helping Keith with this fantastic installation in his front yard. I’ve helped him to build a little circle which is automatic and that he can maintain - this is knowledge transfer. Compared to what we do everyday at the university developing robotic systems this is a very small job. 

“I drew a circuit diagram explaining how to automate this. It really is very simple. We have a sensor that detects when the golf ball comes to rest in a tray. There is a mechanical switch that gives an impulse, that is picked up by a little circuit (a latch and relay) which closes and that switches on the motor. The ball is lifted up and falls into another bit of pipe. There is another, a flash sensor, that detects when the ball has been dropped in, and that releases the relay again. It is a classic stop-start circuit.”

UWE have been fully supportive in helping Keith, allowing Dr Lenz to use their sensors and switches in the project. Keith’s crazy golf course is made out of a mixture of recycled materials, including spare wood from roof replacements and plumbing tubes for the balls to run down donated by bathroom specialists and plumbers merchants, Geo. Jones & Brothers. Bicycles also play a big part in the design - help was offered by Dan Bradshaw, owner of Rollquick cycle shop on the Gloucester Road.

Dan said: “I wanted to contribute to the project as it’s for the community and for charity. We do bikes up, working with charities, and like to put a bit of life back into them. I don’t like seeing bits go to waste so it’s good to see the bits that I take off the bikes get reused - upcycled - in the local area.”

Keith is ready for an influx of visitors to come knocking on his door - all in the aid of charity. It is a 12 hole course, where players go around the six holes twice. The holes are creative and challenging and the top ten scorers will be invited back for a prize-winning play off at the end of February after Window Wanderland.

Keith said: “The doctor’s been here, the hole is complete and the golf course is open. I have to do green keeping everyday as the leaves drop on to the course so I have to get the vacuum cleaner out. 

“My favourite hole has to be the one that Dr Lenz has helped me with - it’s the funny one with balls running around tubes and with buzzers flashing. 

"I like hole number 3 which has seven tubes and nobody really knows where the ball is going to go - it’s a random hole.

“I’d love to raise more this year than we’ve ever raised before. The beach raised £1,000, the stage raised raised £800. If we could get the combined total of those two, that would be great. 

"I need people to come and play. If I’m in, knock on the door, or phone me.

" It costs nothing to play a round but a nice donation would be welcome.”

To contact Keith to play a round on the course, call 0117 907 8448 or simply drop in on him at 48 Thornleigh Road in Bishopston.