Not too long ago HelloComputer requested help on a new project that they were working on to get more exposure for the Johannesburg Zoo. When we saw the request, Sebastian Schocke and I (Tom Van den Bon) jumped on it. It sounded like an awesome project and we wanted to be part of it. Today we are proud to announce that the system went live and the Zoo has their own social media representation called BG. BG is the world’s first LIVE tweeting badger 🙂
Obviously we didn’t just hand BG a smartphone and trained him to use it (although that should maybe be a future project!), but rather we turned his home into a more hi-tech home. This consisted of outfitting his enclosure with Infra-Red sensors that would detect him performing various activities such as playing on his Jungle Gym or when he has retired to his room.
We will go into more detailed posts about the hardware and software used in future posts, but the basic concept consists of wireless sensors using PIR sensors and xbee wireless modules which communicate with a base station.The base station consist of a xbee/arduino and gsm engine.
When a sensor gets triggered it will send through a notification to the base station which will in turn send it through to a server which handles sending of tweets based on the data. This effectively turns BG into a Twitterer 😉