Autor: Viorel -20/05/2011-
If you’re a both nature lover and a geek, you would certainly love the Yahoo Farm. The Yahoo Farm is a 60 cm wide diorama, sitting in your bedroom and bringing you online data from the Yahoo ecosystem.
For example, the wind mill rotation below is directly controlled by the wind speed outside (being connected to the Yahoo Weather API), the hand-painted backgrounds are switched according to the weather state, a new sheep is coming out of the barn each time one of your friends gets online on Yahoo Messenger, and each new email lights up a fruit in the Email Tree.
This project has been developed during the 2011 Yahoo Open Hack in Bucharest by team RoboFun, and won the Hacker’s Choice Award.
Is is powered by an Arduino Mega connected to an Ethernet Shield and an MP3 Trigger shield, which also controls few DC motors. Remote, there’s a small web application hosted in the Google App Engine cloud, which calls the Yahoo APIs and package the data for the Arduino to understand in a simple way.
On the mechanical side, we’ve used 120:1 Pololu motors connected to thin metal bars, and some cords attached around the bars. Due to the slow moving speed (gearbox + thin bars), we could simply hardcode the movements timing with pretty much precision. We’ve been only using one pressure sensor at the top of the background to prevent accidents during testing. The motors were driven using custom build L293D circuit.
Below are some photos took during the construction.
Here are the slides I’ve been using for my 90 seconds pitch during the event.
The team behind this project is below, feel free to contact us for anything.
Viorel Spinu – Hardware (Carpentry and decoration)
Andrei Dore – Programming ( Yahoo APIs and Arduino)
Ionut Cotoi – Electronics
Constantin Craciun – Programming (Arduino)
Alexandru Stefanica – Artwork (Painting)
Mihai Ionescu – Electronics
The complete source code is available for download here – http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3161209/diorama.zip (it does requires some cleaning and nice packaging, at this point it’s exactly the state we had at the end of the 24 hours of coding).
The Yahoo Farm by The RoboFun Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Should you find this project interesting, want something similar build, or maybe you just need somebody to help you prototype the next world-changing gadget, feel free to contact me at viorel [dot] spinu [at] gmail [dot] com .