Hans on IoT

ThingSpeak, MATLAB, and the Internet of Things

Analyzing Squirrel Behaviour and Weather Forecasting with MATLAB and ThingSpeak

Posted by Hans Scharler,

Lord Kelvin said, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” In Carsten’s project, he built a squirrel feeder complete with sensors and a camera. The “Squirrel Cafe” allows squirrels to lift a cover and take a peanut. When that happens, data gets collected and the feeder tweets its data summary with a photo. Carsten is learning a lot about the behaviours of the squirrels and is also trying to forecast the coming winter based on how many nuts are being taken. Behind-the-scenes, he is using Raspberry Pi, ThingSpeak, and MATLAB.

Squirrel Monitoring

The Squirrel Cafe is connected to the ThingSpeak IoT Analytics platform using the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi collects data from a tilt sensor, temperature sensor, and a camera to determine how many nuts the squirrels are taking. Whenever the lid opens, the current temperature gets measured by the DS18B20 sensor and sent to ThingSpeak for storage and analysis using MATLAB.

Squirrel Cafe System

Carsten is also testing a theory. He noticed through observation that there might be a correlation between the number of nuts that get taken from the feeder and how long the coming winter season will be. This winter forecast and “nuts per minute” calculations are being performed by ThingSpeak’s MATLAB Analysis app. We are excited to see what the results prove in the next few years.

For full project details and source code, visit Carsten’s website for this project at www.TheSquirrelCafe.com.


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