Introduction: The Social Media Hamster

Every hackathon we host at Mikamai usually means a lot of leftovers. From pizza crusts to burned LEDs, you can find a lot of useful and useless stuff even in the deepest and darkest corners of our huge open space.

And in one of these dark corners I found a scared little friend, which I suddenly decided to adopt.

We became BFFs, and we do everything together, coding, drinking, pranking the teammates and cycling, but he wanted to be useful to me, so I went into my cove and start thinking… what an ex cartoon eating plush hamster can do for me?
The answer was quite obvious! He can warn me whenever someone tweets me or cites me in a tweet! Genius!

Step 1: Ingredients

  • Twitter streaming APIs
  • Electric IMP (I decided to use an Electric Imp just because I had a spare one, you can even use a spark core or an Arduino Yún)
  • A servo
  • Chopsticks
  • Some screws
  • Cable ties
  • Something heavy, like a metal plate
  • Some jumper wires
  • Obviously, absulutely essential, a plush hamster
  • An USB power adapter or a USB battery pack if you want your project to be portable

I also used an LED for visual debugging, I tried to put a pair of LEDs instead of my hamster’s eyes, but it was too scary, and it remembered a lot my creepy doll, so I decided not to use them

Step 2: The Hamster Surgery

Then I had to make the hamster move with the servo. It’s just a prototype, so I decided to keep it very very simple, and I secured the hamster to the servo with a chopstick, some copper wire and some screws to keep the hamster from doing a barrel roll. The surgery was not so traumatic, so my hamster is still happy. Then I fixed the servo to an heavy metal plate with a cable tie, just to provide a solid base.

I drilled some holes to the chopstick

Then put some screws in it and i secured the chopstick to the servo

And I used a bit of copper wire to secure the hamster to the screws

And a cable tie to fix the servo to the metal plate

Now everything’s in place!

Step 3: The Circuit

The circuit is dead simple. Just connect the power pins of the servo to the GND-VIN pins of the Electric Imp, and the third pin to the Imp’s pin number 7

The Electric Imp is one of the easiest platforms to configure, thanks to the Blink app, so you can have it online in a couple of minutes. You can even use your phone as hotspot, it works perfectly and it makes your social hamster fully portable.

Step 4: The Code

Now, the code. The Electric imp platform gives you all the instruments to interact with the whole world of APIs and webservices. Basically, the code is splitted in two: An agent, that runs on the Electric Imp Cloud servers, and a device, which is your electric Imp

[Copy & Paste from the official Electric Imp documentation]

The agent object represents the imp’s agent: the server-side Squirrel, running in the Electric Imp’s cloud servers, that deals with Internet requests and responses on behalf of the imp. The agent object is used to mediate communication between the imp and its agent.

The device object represents the server-based agent’s view of the imp and is used to mediate communication between the agent and the imp.

[End of copy&paste]

So here we go with our agent code. It’s based on the useful twitter library included in the Electric Imp webservices reference. I also added this piece of code to generate the tweet event manually

// test function for manual hamster shaking
function requestHandler(request, response) { try { // check if the user sent led as a query parameter if ("tweet" in request.query) { device.send("tweet", null); } // send a response back saying everything was OK. response.send(200, "tweet test ok"); } catch (ex) { response.send(500, "Internal Server Error: " + ex); } }

// register the HTTP handler http.onrequest(requestHandler);

To enable the twitter stream real time parsing, I just needed to configure these twitter constants

// Twitter Keys
const API_KEY = ""; const API_SECRET = ""; const AUTH_TOKEN = ""; const TOKEN_SECRET = "";

and this line

twitter.stream("@jeko", onTweet);

which basically tells to the stream object to catch all the tweets containing the string “@jeko”
So, here’s the complete agent code

// Copyright (c) 2013 Electric Imp
// This file is licensed under the MIT License // http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT

// Twitter Keys const API_KEY = ""; const API_SECRET = ""; const AUTH_TOKEN = ""; const TOKEN_SECRET = "";

class Twitter { // OAuth _consumerKey = null; _consumerSecret = null; _accessToken = null; _accessSecret = null;

// URLs streamUrl = "https://stream.twitter.com/1.1/"; tweetUrl = "https://api.twitter.com/1.1/statuses/update.json";

// Streaming streamingRequest = null; _reconnectTimeout = null; _buffer = null;

constructor (consumerKey, consumerSecret, accessToken, accessSecret) { this._consumerKey = consumerKey; this._consumerSecret = consumerSecret; this._accessToken = accessToken; this._accessSecret = accessSecret;

this._reconnectTimeout = 60; this._buffer = ""; }

/*************************************************************************** * function: Tweet * Posts a tweet to the user's timeline * * Params: * status - the tweet * cb - an optional callback * * Return: * bool indicating whether the tweet was successful(if no cb was supplied) * nothing(if a callback was supplied) **************************************************************************/ function tweet(status, cb = null) { local headers = { };

local request = _oAuth1Request(tweetUrl, headers, { "status": status} ); if (cb == null) { local response = request.sendsync(); if (response && response.statuscode != 200) { server.log(format("Error updating_status tweet. HTTP Status Code %i:\r\n%s", response.statuscode, response.body)); return false; } else { return true; } } else { request.sendasync(cb); } }

/*************************************************************************** * function: Stream * Opens a connection to twitter's streaming API * * Params: * searchTerms - what we're searching for * onTweet - callback function that executes whenever there is data * onError - callback function that executes whenever there is an error **************************************************************************/ function stream(searchTerms, onTweet, onError = null) { server.log("Opening stream for: " + searchTerms); // Set default error handler if (onError == null) onError = _defaultErrorHandler.bindenv(this);

local method = "statuses/filter.json" local headers = { }; local post = { track = searchTerms }; local request = _oAuth1Request(streamUrl + method, headers, post);

this.streamingRequest = request.sendasync(

function(resp) { // connection timeout server.log("Stream Closed (" + resp.statuscode + ": " + resp.body +")"); // if we have autoreconnect set if (resp.statuscode == 28) { stream(searchTerms, onTweet, onError); } else if (resp.statuscode == 420) { imp.wakeup(_reconnectTimeout, function() { stream(searchTerms, onTweet, onError); }.bindenv(this)); _reconnectTimeout *= 2; } }.bindenv(this),

function(body) { try { if (body.len() == 2) { _reconnectTimeout = 60; _buffer = ""; return; }

local data = null; try { data = http.jsondecode(body); } catch(ex) { _buffer += body; try { data = http.jsondecode(_buffer); } catch (ex) { return; } } if (data == null) return;

// if it's an error if ("errors" in data) { server.log("Got an error"); onError(data.errors); return; } else { if (_looksLikeATweet(data)) { onTweet(data); return; } } } catch(ex) { // if an error occured, invoke error handler onError([{ message = "Squirrel Error - " + ex, code = -1 }]); } }.bindenv(this)

); }

/***** Private Function - Do Not Call *****/ function _encode(str) { return http.urlencode({ s = str }).slice(2); }

function _oAuth1Request(postUrl, headers, data) { local time = time(); local nonce = time;

local parm_string = http.urlencode({ oauth_consumer_key = _consumerKey }); parm_string += "&" + http.urlencode({ oauth_nonce = nonce }); parm_string += "&" + http.urlencode({ oauth_signature_method = "HMAC-SHA1" }); parm_string += "&" + http.urlencode({ oauth_timestamp = time }); parm_string += "&" + http.urlencode({ oauth_token = _accessToken }); parm_string += "&" + http.urlencode({ oauth_version = "1.0" }); parm_string += "&" + http.urlencode(data);

local signature_string = "POST&" + _encode(postUrl) + "&" + _encode(parm_string);

local key = format("%s&%s", _encode(_consumerSecret), _encode(_accessSecret)); local sha1 = _encode(http.base64encode(http.hash.hmacsha1(signature_string, key)));

local auth_header = "oauth_consumer_key=\""+_consumerKey+"\", "; auth_header += "oauth_nonce=\""+nonce+"\", "; auth_header += "oauth_signature=\""+sha1+"\", "; auth_header += "oauth_signature_method=\""+"HMAC-SHA1"+"\", "; auth_header += "oauth_timestamp=\""+time+"\", "; auth_header += "oauth_token=\""+_accessToken+"\", "; auth_header += "oauth_version=\"1.0\"";

local headers = { "Authorization": "OAuth " + auth_header };

local url = postUrl + "?" + http.urlencode(data); local request = http.post(url, headers, ""); return request; }

function _looksLikeATweet(data) { return ( "created_at" in data && "id" in data && "text" in data && "user" in data ); }

function _defaultErrorHandler(errors) { foreach(error in errors) { server.log("ERROR " + error.code + ": " + error.message); } }

}

twitter <- Twitter(API_KEY, API_SECRET, AUTH_TOKEN, TOKEN_SECRET);

function onTweet(tweetData) { // log the tweet, and who tweeted it (there is a LOT more info in tweetData) server.log(format("%s - %s", tweetData.text, tweetData.user.screen_name)); device.send("tweet", null); }

// test function for manual hamster shaking function requestHandler(request, response) { try { // check if the user sent led as a query parameter if ("tweet" in request.query) { device.send("tweet", null); } // send a response back saying everything was OK. response.send(200, "tweet test ok"); } catch (ex) { response.send(500, "Internal Server Error: " + ex); } }

twitter.stream("yoursearchstring", onTweet);

// register the HTTP handler http.onrequest(requestHandler);

Then, here’s the device code, based on the electric Imp PWM Servo example

// These values may be different for your servo
const SERVO_MIN = 0.03; const SERVO_MAX = 0.1;

// create global variable for servo and configure servo <- hardware.pin7; servo.configure(PWM_OUT, 0.02, SERVO_MIN);

// assign pin9 to a global variable led <- hardware.pin9; // configure LED pin for DIGITAL_OUTPUT led.configure(DIGITAL_OUT);

// global variable to track current state of LED pin state <- 0; // set LED pin to initial value (0 = off, 1 = on) led.write(state);

// expects a value between 0.0 and 1.0 function SetServo(value) { local scaledValue = value * (SERVO_MAX-SERVO_MIN) + SERVO_MIN; servo.write(scaledValue); }

// expects a value between -80.0 and 80.0 function SetServoDegrees(value) { local scaledValue = (value + 81) / 161.0 * (SERVO_MAX-SERVO_MIN) + SERVO_MIN; servo.write(scaledValue); }

// current position (we'll flip between 0 and 1) position <- 0;

function HamsterDance() { SetServoDegrees(-10); imp.sleep(0.5); SetServoDegrees(0); imp.sleep(0.2); SetServoDegrees(-15); imp.sleep(0.2); SetServoDegrees(5); imp.sleep(0.2); SetServoDegrees(-20); imp.sleep(0.2); SetServoDegrees(0); imp.sleep(0.2); SetServoDegrees(-78); }

function ShakeRattleAndRoll(ledState){ server.log("Let's shake the hamster!"); // turn on the led for visual debugging led.write(1); // HamsterDance(); imp.sleep(2); // turn off the led led.write(0);

}

// initialize the servo to the start position SetServoDegrees(-78);

//shake the hamster when got a tweet message from the Agent agent.on("tweet", ShakeRattleAndRoll);

Step 5: Enjoy!

And… that’s it! Just connect the Electric Imp to a power source, configure the wifi via the Electric Imp mobile App, and start tweeting! Your hamster will be soo happy to warn you whenever a tweet is coming!!

Ciao and happy hacking! Stefano

Comments

author
seamster made it!(author)2014-09-12

Cool!

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