There are lots of good competitions and stuff going on at the moment and I am torn between which one or ones to get involved with. However, the Remote Monitoring and Control Project14 challenge is one I have been considering for some time. I am blessed (or plagued) in my back garden by wandering cats and the occasional fox and I thought I would like to make something that would detect how often a cat (or other small animal) actually passes by. I have also been interested in the GridEye thermal array sensor so I am going to see if I can use a GridEye to detect these cats.
There are a number of challenges such as getting the GridEye to detect cats at night. I do not have a cat of my own to experiment (do I mean play?) with and it is outside in the dark, wet, cold and damp, often when I am asleep. If at all possible I would also like to make it a mobile robot that could move around seeking out the cat but that might be a challenge to far with this activity so I will start with a stationary module that is able to scan rotationally. I am going to order a breakout board for the GridEye using the AMG8833AMG8833 rather than try surface mount soldering myself. There seems to be one that is not too expensive on line. I'll probably start with a normal 180 degree scan micro servo motor as I can always put it at the side of my garden and if it does work I can replace that servo motor with a small step motor left over from my HoloPiBot.
I'll have to decide what to do with the data, maybe use Bluetooth to send it to my laptop inside or maybe to some dedicated display unknit. I have some small OLED displays that would probably be ideal. I recently received a MKR Zero from Element14 (which I think was just for being nice) so that could be something to try out, as they are both 3.3V devices.
Not sure what I will do about weather-proofing it, possibly 3D print a nice casing and then paint it with Weather shield gloss white paint perhaps.
I'm off to order the Grideye now which will take a couple of weeks to come.