Monitor Your Pet While You are Out

by RichB

Published on May 15, 2014

Have you ever wondered what your dog is doing while you are out of the house. Is she really the angel that you think she is?  You can find out with this littleBits pet monitor that will keep track of motion and sound while you are gone, and then allow you to import the data into Excel for viewing in chart form.  You can monitor and display up to eight hours of collected data.

How To Make It


Construct the remote sensor module shown in one of the above pictures. It is important that the Motion Sensor is connected to the wireless transmitter port 2, and the sound trigger is connected to port 3. You can place this sensor in the room where your pet will be staying while you are gone. It should be at a level low enough for which pet motion can be detected by the motion sensor, but not so low that your pet will think it is a toy or food! You may want to power it with a USB power rather than a battery power if you find that the battery will not last long enough.  Make sure that the remote is not too far from the wireless transmitter.  Walls and large metal objects such as refrigerators will reduce the range of the wireless transmitter.


Construct the Arduino Module shown in one of the above pictures. Note that the Aduino module is connected to the three ports of the wireless receiver, and the micro-USB cable must be connected to your computer. The computer must have the Arduino IDE software installed.


Power up both the remote sensor module and the Arduino module. Start the Arduino IDE software.  Select Tools>Board>Arduino Leonardo. Then select Tools>Serial Port and select the serial port that the Arduino will use for communication.  This will depend upon whether you are using a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine.   Open the sketch file called PetMonitor.ino. Upload the sketch to the Arduino module. After it is loaded, start the serial monitor by selecting Tools>Serial Monitor from the IDE. After about 15 seconds, sensing will begin and you will see the column headers "Time Motion Sound" in the monitor window. Detected motion will display 1 and detected sound will display -1, along with the associated time in minutes that have gone by. You will notice the yellow d1/tx light on the Arduino module blink every time that data is transmitted to the serial monitor.


When you are done collecting data (for up to eight hours of clock time), then you can transfer the data from the serial monitor to Excel. Here is how to do that. First, uncheck Autoscroll in the bottom left corner of the serial monitor. Use your mouse to drag and select all of the data beginning with the data line containing the column headers. Open the attached Excel .xlsx file called Pet Monitor.xlsx, right-click on cell A1 and select Paste. You should now see your data in Excel and the chart should show what your dog (or cat, or hamster, ...) has been doing while you were gone. Periods of motion are shown in blue and periods of sound are shown in red. There may be times when there are both motion and sound. The vertical lines on the chart are separate by 10 minutes each, with hours indicated in minutes as 60, 120, 180, etc.


If your pet was good, give it a big hug and a treat. If you are not sure she/he was good, just give her/him a hug because she/he loves you (and you love her/him)!

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