Another Chance To Revive Your Nabaztag

The early history of home internet appliances was replete with wonderful curios as a new industry sought to both find a function for itself and deliver something useful with whatever semiconductors were available nearly two decades ago. A favourite of ours is the Nabaztag, a French-designed information appliance in the form of a cute plastic rabbit whose ears would light up and move around as it delivered snippets of information.

The entity behind the Nabaztag folded and the servers went away years ago of course, but the original designer [Olivier Mével] never gave up on his creation. Back in 2019 he created an updated mainboard for the device packing a Raspberry Pi Zero W, which has been released in a series of crowdfunding campaigns. If you have a Nabaztag and haven’t yet upgraded, you can snag one now as the latest campaign has started.

We took a look at the Nabaztag back in 2020, at the time with out bricked original unit. Happily a year later we were able to snag one of the upgrades, so it’s now happily keeping us up to date with the time, weather, and other fun things. The upgrade motherboard is designed to slot into the same place as the original and mate with all its connectors, and even comes with that annoying triangle screwdriver. If you want to stand out against all the Alexa and Google Home owners, dig out your cute rabbit from the 2000s and give it this board!

Hackaday Podcast 069: Calculator Controversy, Socketing SOIC, Metal On The Moon, And Basking In Bench Tools

Hackaday editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams march to the beat of the hardware hacking drum as they recount the greatest hacks to hit the ‘net this week. First up: Casio stepped in it with a spurious DMCA takedown notice. There’s a finite matrix of resistors that form a glorious clock now on display at CERN. Will a patio paver solve your 3D printer noise problems? And if you ever build with copper clad, you can’t miss this speedrun of priceless prototyping protips.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (60 MB or so.)

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Teardown: Nabaztag

In 2020 there is nothing novel or exciting about an online device. Even the most capable models are designed to be unobrusive pucks and smart speakers; their function lies in what they do rather than in how they look. In 2005, an Internet connected device was a rare curiosity, a daring symbol of a new age: the “Internet of Things”!

Our fridges were going to suggest recipes based upon their contents, and very few people had yet thought of the implications of an always-on connected appliance harvesting your data on behalf of a global corporation. Into this arena stepped the Nabaztag (from the Armenian for “rabbit”), an information appliance in the form of a stylised French plastic rabbit that could deliver voice alerts, and indicate status alerts by flashing lights and moving its ears.

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3D Printed Wave Lamp Forecasts The Weather

While browsing Thingiverse, [Dushyant Ahuja] found a rather pleasing wave lamp, and since a mere lamp on its own would not quite be enough, he added a means by which his lamp could provide weather alerts by means of changing its color.

It’s fair to say that the wave lamp is not a print for the faint-hearted, and it took him 30 hours to complete. However, it has the interesting feature of not requiring a support or raft. There is also a base for the lamp designed to take a strip of addressable LEDs, and he modified its design to mount a small PCB containing an ESP8266 module and a level shifter chip. The code for the ESP relies on the OpenWeatherMap API, and changes the LED color based on the rainfall forecast.

Casting our minds back a decade, this lamp is reminiscent of the long-departed Nabaztag product, best described as an internet-connected plastic anthropomorphic rabbit that could keep you updated with information such as weather or stock market trends through lighting up and the movement of its ears. It was an overpriced idea tied into a proprietary online back end that was probably well before its time back in 2004. Perhaps repackaged for 2017 with a commodity microcontroller board Nabaztag has finally found its application.

There is a short video showing the color change and an LED animation, which we’ve put below the break.

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