This weekend I had a really good time while attending Pachube's Internet of Things Hackathon! Me and Frieder Ganz, from the University of Surrey, went out to get some inspiration for the hackathon project and ended up buying a very cheesy Maneki Neko in Chinatown.

After some seriously low-tech hacking (the cat still has a chocolate bag inside its arm) we fitted a Servo motor for controlling the arm position, two evil looking red LED's in the eyes and a speaker on the bottom and connected it to an arduino+ethernet shield.

On the programming side, the cat reacted (moving the arm, blinking the eyes and singing a few tunes) to several expressions and hashtags people were using on Twitter and also mapped the wind speed in Lisbon to the arm position, using a Pachube feed. The concept was to have a personal object that would tell us some information just by looking at it, if it's going to rain today or if someone is talking about us on Twitter, for example.

Pachube is a very neat sensor feed aggregator that allows other users to subscribe to feeds or events and to publish their own sensor readings.

On the back of the cat, we've put a QRCode that could be read with a mobile phone which would take us to a web configuration allowing us to specify which Pachube feed we were using and which Twitter expressions triggered which animations.

On our implementation we've used the Nanode code, which is a very cool Arduino with embedded Ethernet. The Nanode guys were also participating on the event and in the end they were so kind they offered us a Nanode and featured our little project on Ken's blog, the "father" of the Nanode!

project: Waving Cat

© Paulo Ricca 2011 | Atom