David Schneller


RetroSpect Birdhouse

An interactive birdhouse prototype that helps you watch birds and keep memories

As soon as a bird appears at the birdhouse the small cuckoo will come out of the small door and inform the people in the living room that there is a bird to watch. The birdhouse will also safe a picture of the bird with the integrated webcam and save it on a connected computer. Users can go back in time by turning the hand of the clock to scroll through the picture archive on the computer. Additionally the clock has an LED indicator that will show how much bird food is left in the birdhouse. The birdhouse was the final project of the Tangible Interfaces course.

RetroSpect Birdhouse on Vimeo.

How it works

An IR heat sensor is built into the bird house to recognize birds. The ultra sonic sensor in the roof measures the filling level of the food storage. The clock hand is mounted on a rotary encoder. All those sensors are read by the Arduino. A Processing application is running on the computer displaying the photos of the birds. The Arduino is connected to the computer via USB and sends messages containing information about the presence of the bird, changes of the clock hand and amount of bird food left to the application. In the roof of the birdhouse is a webcam. It is connected to the computer via USB. The Processing app will capture an image from the webcam when it gets a message about a present bird from the Arduino.

Project Specs

Tangible Interaction course, semester 1 of Interaction Design & Methodologies Master
~8 days
Used skills
Building physical prototypes, Arduino, Processing (language)
Division of work
Project was executed in a group of 2, Concept, woodworking and electronics were done by both of us, programming was done by me
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