Arduino-Based Toys for Playful Cats: 3 Week-End Projects

arduino projects for cats

In this selection of simple week-end projects, we target our furry friends. We provide a selection of three cool DIY projects using Arduino boards. Cats will love these electronic toys. They will cost you only few bucks, for hours of fun and laughter with your pet. Checkout the videos. They are hilarious!

The first project is basically a ball hide and seek game. You hide some balls around and the cat has to go fetch them (see Video 1). Once a ball is found, the cat has to carry it, and insert it into a funnel. The ball rolls down and trigger the delivery of some treats.

Video 1. Cute Cat Playing an Electronic Ball Game

If your cat is too lazy to go hunting balls, then you might prefer making an on demand feeding machine. The cat has to press a button to get a small portion of dry food, kept fresh inside a box (see Video 2).

Video 2. Funny Cat Pushing a Button to Get Food

To really make your cat exercise, this automated laser tower is for you. Your cat will jump and run chasing the laser spot (see Video 3). Beware to keep it on only for short periods of time, to avoid your pet turn crazy or get exhausted.

Video 3. Crazy Cat Chasing an Automated Laser Spot

CREDITS: Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

Farmers Market App: Find Fresh Locally Grown Food

farmers market pharojs mobile app

If you care both about the planet and your health, the Farmers Market app is for you! This app allows you to find nearby markets, where you can buy fresh food directly from farmers. Most of the produce are grown locally. This means less fuel for transportation. So, by buying locally grown food you contribute to reduce CO2 emissions. You can even exercise: just walk to the market or ride a bicycle!

The Farmers Market app makes eating healthy rime with fighting climate change!

Features

  • Show farmers markets around your current position
  • Display market info summary on map
  • Get GPS directions to navigate to selected market
  • Filter markets by product categories
  • List view of markets around any position
  • Sort markets by distance
  • Explore markets around other places
  • Find markets all around the USA
  • Single market view with:
    • Zoom map around market
    • List of sold products
    • Opening hours
    • Share market info via any messaging app
  • 0 advertisement
  • 0 data collected

This app has been developed using free open source software listed below.

Download

The Farmers Market app is available for iPhone and Android. You can download it for free by simply clicking on the icons below.

Download Farmers Market App for iPhone
Download Farmers Market App for Android

Please Donate

The Farmers Market app is available for free, with the hope to make the world a better place. If you like this initiative, and want to see more please become a patron.

Sharing is Caring

You can also support me by sharing content from this site on social media platforms such as: Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Hands on the Arduino Yún

Arduino Yún

The original Arduino Yún and its successor the Arduino Yún Rev. 2 are a mixture of an Arduino board with a WiFi connected Linux board. And, of course those two parts are bridged, so you can easily build applications that interact with their environment via the digital or analog pints, and run a web server or perform some computations on the Linux part (See Video 1 below).

In this tutorial, we will get started with the Yún. I’ll also provide you with some tips and tricks that hopefully will help you in your experiments.

arduino Yún BoardOutline

Video 1: Overview of the Arduino Yún

Powering the Arduino Yún

First things first, you need to plug the Yún to a power source prior to using it. There are 3 ways to deliver power to the Yún. The first option is simply through USB. This is typically done by connecting the board to a PC our a USB hub via Micro-B USB cable. The second option is through the ethernet plug since the Yún does support Power over Ethernet (PoE). The third solution is to use an external electric power source through the Vin and Ground pins. But then, you need to be careful because the there is no built in 5V regulator. If you power your Yún with more than 5V, you will likely damage it. A simple way to avoid this is to use a 3LR12 lantern battery which delivers 4.5V.

WiFi Setup

Once the Yún is connected to a power source, few seconds are required to Linino to boot. Then, you’ll see a Wifi network with a name starting with “Arduino Yun”. The full name looks like Arduino Yun-XXXXXXXXXXXX, where the Xs are alphanumerical characters. The Yún acts by default as an access point. So, you can connect your computer to the ArduinoYun Wifi and start interacting with the Yún.

You can replace this configuration and make the Yún connect to another Wifi network. This change is very easy likewise most of the setup. All you have to do is to access the configuration web interface using a web browser that opens the http://arduino.local address.

Checking the Connection

Once connected, you can open a terminal and ping the board to check that the Linino is ready by evaluating:

ping arduino.local

The arduino.local refers to your board in the local network. So, if you replace its name (through the configuration web interface) to say myYun, you should be using myYun.local instead of arduino.local. Anyway, if the everything is ok, you should get an answer similar to the following:

PING arduino.local (192.168.240.1): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 192.168.240.1: icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=1.225 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.240.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=2.502 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.240.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=2.551 ms

Logging into Linino

The Linux carried by the Yún is a distribution based on OpenWRT named Linino (also referred to as OpenWrt-Yún). Logging into Linino can be done as with any Linux through ssh from a terminal of a computer that is on the same network as the Yún. The default user is root. So, to login in you need to type the following command line:
ssh root@arduino.local
The first time you try to connect to your Yun from a computer, the terminal will reply with a message like this :
The authenticity of host 'arduino.local (192.168.240.1)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is c6:4a:45:ab:51:56:17:08:3a:04:54:14:ad:82:f8:fa.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
Type yes at this prompt to continue the process. You’ll get a response that says:
Warning: Permanently added 'arduino.local,192.168.240.1' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
Next, you will get prompted to provide the password. By, default it is arduino. Of course you can change it through the web interface too. Et voilà, you’re in! You will quickly notice that Linino is a stripped down Linux. For example, there is no man by default. So, expect some adjustments depending on your project. Still, you can expand the default setup by installing extra packages using the package manager opkg.

Resetting the Yún

The Yún offers different kinds of reset:

  • To reboot the microcontroller (Leonardo part) only, press the 32U4 RST button (see Figure 1 below).
  • To reboot the linux system only, press the YÚN RST button near the analog input pins.
  • If you want to reset the Wifi and make the Yún revert to its original Wifi setup (i.e. Wifi host spot with SSID Arduino Yun-XXXXXXXXXXXX), press the button labelled WLAN for more than 5 seconds. The WLAN button is located near the host USB connector (the big one). Note that while the WLAN button is pressed the WLAN led will blink in blue.
  • If you did mess up with your board configuration, or you simply need a fresh setup for a new project or experiment you can do a full reset and make the Linino go back to its default state. Press the WLAN button but this time for more than 30 seconds.
Arduino Yún Reset Buttons
Figure 1. Arduino Yún Reset Buttons

Controlling the Arduino Yún Over WiFi

The Yún can run a web server that allows interacting with your Arduino sketch via a web browser on a remote computer.  It relies on the REST protocol. REST is an acronym for “Representational State Transfer”. Basically, it allows to a talk to an Arduino sketch through URLs as when you browse the web.

Example Setup

An example showing how to control the Yún over Wifi is available on my github.  The sketch controls the Arduino Yún on board LED based on commands sent by a web browser.

To run this example you need to do the following:

Control the LED using a Web Browser

The sketch allows to control the onboard LED on pin 13.  You can either turn it ON, turn it OFF, make it blink, or fade. You’ll find below examples of URLs you can write on your web browser, and remotely command the LED. I assume that the board’s name is set to yun.

  • http://yun.local/arduino/on Turn ON the LED
  • http://yun.local/arduino/off Turn OFF the LED
  • http://yun.local/arduino/blink/2/s Toggle the LED every 2 seconds
  • http://yun.local/arduino/fade/50/300/ms Fade in and out the LED changing the intensity by 50 every 300 milliseconds.

Post-Christmas Green Attitude

So, you got a new gadget for Christmas. What ever gizmo you get, you probably have an older one that you won’t be using any more. Such devices are often neglectfully cluttering some drawer. We have here good news for you. Used phones have more value than you might expect. Even broken ones! You can make money, make someone happy, contribute to saving the planet or all these altogether.

How? It’s just a matter of a few clicks! Post a listing on some site such as eBay. While you type the brand of your device, you’ll get a list of suggestions. Be sure to select the right one, especially if your device is unlocked. You get a prefilled form. Often, it comes with a least one  picture. You can add more info, or pictures. They attract potential buyers. You can also add more infos about your item such as its condition (e.g. used or for parts if it isn’t working) and the price. Depending on how recent is your device you can expect form a few dollars to $100 or even more.

Another way to get rid of your old gadget while saving the planet is to donate it to a charity or to recycle it. You’ve got probably in your area some non-profit organization such as Call 2 Recycle. A nice alternative is Recycling for Charities. It donates some of the money it gets from recycling your device to a charity of your choice.