Instructables

Give Your Cat Twitter Powers

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Give your cat a Twitter account and have her post updates automatically whenever she sits down on her bed or when she leaves her bed. In addition, capture pictures of your cat when she's on her bed and upload those as well so you can keep tabs on her antics while you're away from home.

In this instructable, I'll walk you through the process of
  • building a cat sensor out of a simple momentary switch, foam core and foam strips
  • reading the cat sensor on your Mac or PC using Arduino and Processing
  • automatically posting status updates to Twitter when your cat takes a nap or wakes back up
  • taking pictures of your cat on the bed with a webcam and uploading the pictures to a webserver

Want to see a twittering cat in action? Follow @zooooey on Twitter.

This instructable is inspired by Tom Igoe's Networked Cat Project in the book "Making Things Talk"
 
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Step 1: Theory / Overview

Picture of Theory / Overview
The overall plan is as follows: We'll first build a cheap "cat sensor". To read that sensor from a PC, we'll use an Arduino board running Firmata firmware. To take pictures of your cat, we'll capture still images from a web cam stream. All the logic will be handled in Processing. We'll use existing libraries to send Twitter updates whenever your cat sits down or leaves the bed. When the cat is on the bed, we'll capture still shots and upload those to a web server using FTP. We'll then add links to the pictures to the Twitter messages.

Here's the shopping/scavenging list, from most to least expensive:
  • 1 old laptop or PC with internet connection. Mac or PC will both work fine; Linux will be trickier - you're on your own there with video capture support.
  • 1 webcam
  • 1 Arduino board + USB cable
  • 1 momentary switch
  • stranded wire (I like 24AWG)
  • 1 sheet of foamcore
  • some springy sheet material (e.g. Foamies sheets)

Tools: Just the basics
  • soldering iron
  • xacto knife
  • hot glue gun
simdude2u1 year ago
Like the real twitter birds
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/real-birds-tweet_b31976
bumpus5 years ago
:3
agreed :3
i second that :3
thirded =3
fourth...ded :3
sixth....ded :3
seventh....ded :3
(removed by author or community request)
~Z~ Jimmacle2 years ago
Ninth...ded :3
Jimmacle ~Z~2 years ago
OVAR 9000....ded :3
~Z~ Jimmacle2 years ago
Your supposed to go in order....ded :3
Jimmacle ~Z~2 years ago
I know....ded :3
what he said ^ :3
:3 .....ded
dead
fifth...ded :3
venom15392 years ago
This instructable is AWESOME... only if I had a cat.
Catch_22_3 years ago
just letting other people know, the second image was made with Fritzing it's a great editor and has a lot of different uses
BassGeek4 years ago
Haha! i love it!
Sonic4 years ago
This is What I was looking for! thank you!!
...
 is there any way you could post the code in a txt file or something?
I find this really confusing!
AKNeal4 years ago
Ive never messed with Arduino baords before, let alone the software. Is it possible to have a sensor set up for sound or motion so you could place another one around the food dish, scratching post, or even the literbox. If you're going to give your house pet the ability to Twtter, why not let them Twitter about everything they do?
yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Argon274 years ago
Way awesome!
awesome but fu**ing pointless but still mega cool :)
maxpower494 years ago
lol i wonder what if the new version of white and nerdy instead of making a webpage for his dog he made a twitter for his cat
qwertyman104 years ago
From the title,I almost thought it was a joke,but that is awesome. couldn't you even make a running web cam to see video? I don't have a cat, but this still sounds like fun.
whatevers4 years ago
kittys now twitters... cant wait for animal planet to catch on
I'm almost done doing this for my dogs. Thanks for teaching me this.
I am sure that ur dog will love his new powers!
I get an error: "The constructor Twitter(String,String) is undefined" Any ideas? The jar file is in the code directory. Thanks!
LOL NICE DESIGN
this works with my dog odie too, wich is great cuz he is always on his be :P
SinAmos5 years ago
Twitter has died.
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