[TJ Hunter] wanted to find some of the rarer Pokémon without draining his smartphone battery while staring on a screen. The handy ø 25 cm Pokéball he built to make the endless marches more tolerable detects nearby Pokémon and wiggles to alert its owner if there’s a rare catch in sight.
On the inside of the authentic looking, red-white painted styrofoam sphere sits a Particle Electron and a Particle Asset Tracker board, which give it the necessary GPS and 2G/3G connectivity. An RC servo with a little weight takes care of the shaking motion. Every minute, the ball sends its current GPS coordinates to [TJ’s] server-side Laravel app, which then connects to Niantic’s servers (using this library) to obtain a list of nearby Pokémon. If that list contains some of the rarer ones, a “wiggle” command is sent back to the ball. The ball then wiggles excitedly, informing the carrier that it’s time to pull out the netgun. Alone by digging into the ball’s codebase, you’re guaranteed to catch a Porygon, a rare fellow that consists only of source code.
For a while, the ball sat still, since Niantic blocked all third party applications. It looks like this has cleared up now. The pokemongodev team concluded a 4-day hackathon, announcing that they’ve figured out what’s inside the “Unknown6” packet, Niantic’s secret sauce to block bots from entering the game. [TJ] already got his ball back online, and we assume that soon everything will be back to normal . Enjoy the video below, where [TJ] demonstrates his build: