Introduction: RunningHam Palace - Online Hamsters

This is my hamster, Ham. He loves running around at his place, the RunningHam Palace.
Few months ago, while I was visiting the MIT Media Lab, a friend of mine told me about Sushi, the online hamster; a fun project by Gershon Dublon in which a RaspberryPi counted the spins of the wheel through a sensor and served a website with the "running stats".

I live by myself, so I though it would be good for me having a pet... and even better to do something fun with it, so I adopted Ham and started the RunningHam project (@RunnerHam on twitter because RunningHam was taken :( )

Do you have a Hamster? do you want to track his running stats? here is what you need to do:

Step 1: Get the Obvious Stuff

  • A hamster. just fall in love with one and adopt it, they are all awesome!
  • A nice place for him or her with a spinning wheel.
  • An internet connection via WiFi close to your hamster.

Step 2: Make the Electronics

  • Build the circuit board: Here you have my own schematics, feel free to use them. I usually make my own boards, so if you need help with that, let me know and I'll try to make you one... I know this might get a little crazy, but I'd love to see more connected hamsters in the world!
  • Arduino: that board is for an Arduino Nano, I know it is a little too much, but they are cheap and I have a lot of them.
  • ESP8266-01: This is the wifi module that will help you connecting to your network. It is actually possible to make this whole thing without the Arduino and just writing the code on the ESP8266, but the SDK wasn't available when I made this project.
  • AMS1117: The 3.3V regulator to power the ESP8266. Do not try to use the 3.3V on the arduino, it will just die on you because it doesn't supply enough current.
  • A3144: A hall sensor that will help you counting complete spins on the wheel
  • Magnet: You will need to put the magnet on the wheel and place the hall sensor about 1cm away on the wall.
  • KF2510 (1x5p, 1x4p, 1x3p, 1x2p): Typical molex connectors.
  • 3 LEDs: Make them any color you like.
  • 10K and 220Ohm resistors.

Step 3: Get the Software

  • Create a ThingSpeak account and make a new channel with, at least three fields:
    • Current Speed
    • Total Distance
    • Maximum Speed
  • Download the ESP8266 Arduino library and place it in the Arduino folder on your computer
  • Open the Arduino sketch and edit the lines with the comment //EDIT...
  • Upload the code to your new board and just wait for your hamster to start running!

Step 4: Make One and Let's Race!

Let me know if you have any question or in case you want to compete on an virtual hamster race!

You can check Ham's latest workouts and news on his twitter account (@RunnerHam) and his full running stats on his ThingSpeak channel