Even though she can't bark or meow, Cadburry bunny can now send an email using the littleBits cloud bit. She uses her beg pose to push a lever and let us know she wants more kale.
This project uses the following littleBits modules: cloudBit™, roller switch, usb power, wire, and a mounting board. In addition, you will need some kitchen items: a straw, a rubberband, a chopstick, two twist ties, and a non toxic removable glue or tape (I used one glue dot).
Get all these bits, including the littleBits cloudBit here.
Step 1: Assemble Circuit and Mount on Cage
littleBits are extremely easy to use. They connect to each other with a satisfying magnetic click.
Assemble bunny's circuit on a mounting board: USB power + roller switch + wire + cloud Bit. The roller switch should be closest to the edge your pet will access, and the USB power should be farthest to keep her from tampering with it. Bunnies LOVE to bite loose wires! Secure the wire bit by wrapping it around the USB wire and tucking it between littleBits feet and the mounting board.
Here is how you can make a bunny friendly lever switch:
- Tie the mounting board to cage with wire twist ties. Cadburry tried to nibble on these, but I told her "Bunny! No wires!" Then she settled on rubbing her chin on them.
- Glue or tape a short segment of a drinking straw to the center of the bar where your bunny comes and goes. This is also like a drive through window where she can beg for treats. Insert the end of a chop stick into the drinking straw.
- Fold a small rubber band over a bar in the cage and slot the other end of the chop stick through the two ends of the rubber band so that the chop stick is hanging as much as a centimeter above your lever switch.
Step 2: Create Recipes in IFTTT
I started out with this recipe: IF littleBits THEN email (see pictures). I named my cloud bit "Cadburry", so the emails she sent me had the subject line "Cadburry is begging"; the emails read something like this, "At June 21, 2014 at 05:01PM, Cadburry requested Kale."
Another recipe I used: IF littleBits THEN Google Calendar. Now I have a nifty visual calendar to show the times she tends to ask for Kale (it's usually when we open the fridge or come home).
Cadburry sent us about 80 emails over the course of the first five days, which my Yahoo email at first put into the junk folder. I then set my inbox to place them into a special folder.
I LOVE getting emails from Cadburry. When we tell our friends how smart she is, no one believes us. Now I have PROOF in my email box and in video.
Step 3: Train Your Bunny :)
Cadburry was already using this "beg bar" to specifically ask for Kale, but I am sure you could train any bunny to beg for a specific item if you reward her efforts. They really listen to your voice, so also reward verbally and with pets when you give them their favorite treat.
Soon enough, you and your bunny will have it mastered!