Tweeting bird feeder keeps a picture record of all visitors

wireless_tweeting_bird_feeder

If you weren’t aware, Adafruit Industries is sponsoring the “Make it Tweet” contest over at Instructables, and this Twitter-enabled bird feeder is [quasiben’s] entry into the competition.

His bird feeder not only sends messages to Twitter, it also sends a picture of each bird to Twitpic. The feeder itself is a standard off the shelf model which has been fitted with a LinkSprite camera. A LilyPad Arduino controls the camera, sending images to his computer via a pair of XBee modules. To detect when a bird has stopped by for something to eat, [quasiben] used an infrared LED and an IR detector. The emitter and detector are positioned at opposing sides of the feeder’s opening, triggering the Arduino to snap a picture whenever the beam is broken. Once the image has been transferred to his computer, it is posted to TwitPic.

We’re pretty sure [quasiben] built this Tweeting bird feeder just because he could, but we think it’s a pretty smart idea for people who don’t necessarily have the free time to gaze out the window into their yard. It’s a great way to keep tabs on all your new winged visitors while on the go.

Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Is it broken?

  2. Colecago says:

    Certainly looks it, must have been squirreled.

  3. dombeef says:

    I dont know, It isnt waterproof

  4. fartface says:

    The focus on the lens is really, really off.

    It’s a great idea for a early pre alpha concept, it’s certifiably not ready to be left outside for more than 5 minutes.

    Also ditch the lens and find either a very wide angle lens or place it farther away.

  5. I’m sure the author will rug it up in the next few hours =)

  6. ibedazzled says:

    cool idea, but needs some more development for sure.

    im thinking the focal length on that camera is too long for its current position on the feeder. could be mounted to an arm that is long enough for clear shots with the camera pointed back toward the feeder, rather than right on it. or a lens hack may work — maybe mount a door peep-hole to the front of the camera for a fisheye (shorter focal length) type of effect.

  7. Booker T. Worthington says:

    The birds must be invisible.

  8. D_ says:

    Of course every hack has to be tweaked until it’s ready for prime time, Unfortunately to tweak this he has to put it up for the public to see warts, and all. A scroll down into the instructable comments shows the builder saying it has been raining, so so bird activity. IR detector can be flaky, who knows what’s tripping the shutter. I too think the camera is placed to close to the intended subjects. Get working well I can’t think of a better idea for this contest than tweeting images of the of the original tweeters.

  9. Ren says:

    It needs to run recognition software, and when a grackle is at the feeder, it fires a pellet gun at the pest.

  10. raidscsi says:

    Anyone else hate the “instructables” linked articles?

    A simple HTML page from 1995 is more readable, user friendly, and just less gunky.

  11. Cpt. Obvious says:

    @raidscsi: not only that, they make butt loads of money off of other people ideas and force registering at every single corner, then bug you till you cough up the cash, worthless crooks.

  12. Kuy says:

    @raidsci yes, instructables is an atrocious mess that effectively ruins projects posted to it. Whatever happened to the instructabliss proxy/filter? It doesn’t seem to work with the url cited in this article.

  13. Tachikoma says:

    I only found one pic with a bird in it! hahah

  14. andrew says:

    I find it impressive that he used an xbee to transfer jpegs. That’s not exactly an out-of-the-box feature.

  15. Hey All,

    Thanks for the feedback! I have a better camera (TCM8240MD) on order and a breakout board coming in from seeedstudio later this week. I also agree that the IR gate can be a bit flaky and will probably switch to an ultrasonic detector.

  16. Obviously this is an elaborate ‘yo dawg’ joke nobody gets.

  17. echodelta says:

    twitter twits for flitter flits
    @Ren do you mean starlings…identify…must exterminate…zap!

  18. juice says:

    “we think it’s a pretty smart idea for people who don’t necessarily have the free time to gaze out the window into their yard”

    How sad is it if someone doesn’t have the free time to have a cup of coffee and look at the birds from the window?

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