Adafruit donated a Raspberry Pi kit to the Milwaukee Makerspace. To determine what to do with the kit, the board requested proposals for projects based on the kit. Here's the winning proposal by Eric Berna:
As an outgrowth of the Travelling Gnome Prank, many groups have adopted their own traveling mascot, where a statue, doll, gnome, or action figure voluntarily travels with various group members to far off places. The group documenting the travels of the mascot collects photos and travel reports
I propose that a Milwaukee Makerspace traveling mascot be equipped to report on its own travels. Built around a Raspberry Pi, with the addition of a battery, GPS unit, and a camera sensor, the traveling mascot could take its own photos and report its own location.
I believe that with this kit, a few additions, and the tools at the Milwaukee Makerspace, I could pull off making a working self-reporting traveling mascot. With the help and input of artists, designers, developers, and makers of any kind, we could make this thing great.
This project can help build the Milwaukee Makerspace community by keeping the space in our member’s minds as they travel, sharing with our community. Also, the traveling mascot will encourage frequent additions to our website.
The project is making slow progress. It could really use additional help. Here are some sub-projects that volunteers could help with:
The mascot should look non-threatening, something that could be taken on a plane trip without rising the suspicions of the TSA. Eric envisions a plush toy, he really liked the little monsters made from old jeans made in a recent craft lab class. Yet, any design created by a contributor would be appreciated. Once the mascot has a body we can give it a name, and possibly a gender so we can use “he” or “she” instead of “it”. Would anybody like to design and or build the mascot body?
The mascot should communicate with humans through a webpage. That webpage should report where the mascot has gone, who took it. Additionally the escort should be able to add written and photographic annotations to the mascot's travel diary. Would anybody like to design and or help build this website?
Where should the above webpage be hosted. We could setup a webserver on the Raspberry Pi, and we humans can find out where it's been when it happens to be online. This would require setting up a dynamic DNS. We could alternatively host the webpage on a more stable server, and have the Raspberry Pi report back. Would anybody be willing to work out these issues to setup hosting of the webpage?
Batteries are not powerful enough to run the mascot continuously for a trip, but they can record GPS data for 16 hours with our hardware. Getting the Raspberry Pi to process that data so it can be delivered to the webpage requires some low level programming. Eric has been concentrating on this portion of the project, but would welcome additional contributors.
The mascot will consist of at least the Pi, a GPS board, and some indicator LEDs. Development is being done on a breadboard, but a more rugged circuit board should be built or the mascot will fail in the field. Would anybody want to design and construct the additional circuitry the mascot will need?