With a little help from SoFAB in Sophia Antipolis and Pobot for the prototyping, four high school girls built a connected birdhouse—finalist in the Science Factor competition.
Girls prototype too, and they want you to know it. Four high school girls majoring in science at Centre international de Valbonne (CIV) collaboratively built a connected birdhouse. On February 4, their project became a finalist in the Science Factor competition, which promotes scientific or technical projects developed by secondary school girls.
This open source device for observing chickadees, complete with wifi connection, was developed for their life sciences class. It can capture images and collect data on the birds’ behavior both inside and outside the house, using sensors for temperature, weight, presence, humidity, gases (CO, CO2, fine particles), as well as an infrared camera.
Presentation of birdhouse project competing for the 2015 Science Factor award:
For the design and development, the girls—and a few boys who tagged on the group—were shouldered by the robotics organization Pobot and SoFAB, the fablab of Sophia Antipolis. The students made a first prototype out of cardboard, before testing SoFAB’s laser-cutter on different types of wood. In order to insulate the boxes containing the electronics and hide the cables, the students designed a house with an internal chamber made of partitions ranging in width from 5 mm to 30 mm. A special piece fills the space around the entrance, to which is attached the optical sensor that detects when the birds go inside. The simple electronics consists of a Raspberry Pi, RaspiO’Mix by Digital Spirit, rechargeable battery and USB adapter to connect to wifi. The birdhouse then sends the data to a Tumblr blog.
Several birdhouses will be installed at CIV and elsewhere, offering free access to the data, (slow-motion) videos and HD photos captured inside and outside the birdhouses. “The only condition is that the houses be occupied by birds,” according to their presentation for the competition. Honesty appreciated.
Step-by-step description of building the birdhouse on Pobot’s website
Complete documentation of the birdhouse on GitHub