Squirrel Café To Predict The Weather From Customer Data - ZVEIL

Squirrel Café To Predict The Weather From Customer Data

by Moritz Walter July 28, 2016

Physicist and squirrel gastronomer [Carsten Dannat] is trying to correlate two critical social economical factors: how many summer days do we have left, and when will we run out of nuts. His research project, the Squirrel Café, invites squirrels to grab some free nuts and collects interesting bits of customer data in return.

Animals are said to have a predictive sense for natural events, and [Carsten’s] experiment is about verifying this. The hypothesis [Carsten] is trying to prove with this setup is the following:

The amount of nuts taken by red squirrels from a squirrel feeder correlates with upcoming winter weather conditions significantly.

To prove this, [Carsten] regularly fills a wooden squirrel feeder with a known amount of nuts. A mercury switch on the feeder’s lid triggers the execution of a Python script on a Raspberry Pi. The script then polls a Dallas DS18B20 temperature sensor and takes a photograph through a Raspberry Pi camera module. All gathered data is automatically compiled into a tweet and also sent to ThingSpeak for further processing.

The setup works well, providing squirrels with peanuts and [Carsten] with precious data. The video below suggests that the little fellows tend to take one nut at a time, so the mercury switch effectively counts individual nuts. When refilling, [Carsten] checks how many nuts have actually been taken from the station, which allows him to track the nut consumption more accurately.

Yet, for some mysterious reason, the local squirrel population recently decided to boycott the café entirely. For two weeks now, not a single guest has shown up. The outside temperature was around 35° C (95° F) for these days, so regarding the hypothesis, the appetite loss could already be an indicator for a certain weather dependency of the squirrels’ nut consumption. There are certainly some more factors to consider, like the overall food supply, instinctive behavior, and software bugs, but we’re already curious if we will see more squirrels when the temperature drops again. What do our readers think, can squirrels really predict the weather?

Enjoy the video below, which shows the café’s furry guests before they took summer vacation:


Filed under: misc hacks, Raspberry Pi

Moritz Walter
Moritz Walter

Author



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in In The News

Shane Dawson Just Announced He's Engaged But Some People Think It's A Distraction From The Cat Drama

by Razmig Messerian March 20, 2019

The announcement came days after Shane was involved in a controversy where he was forced to deny he'd had sex with his cat.


View Entire Post ›

Continue Reading

17 Impossibly Cool Wedding Ideas You'll Want To Steal For Your Big Day

by Razmig Messerian March 16, 2019

Because it's never too early to start planning.


View Entire Post ›

Continue Reading

Chance The Rapper And Kirsten Corley Got Married Over The Weekend

by Razmig Messerian March 11, 2019

Chance the Rapper is now Chance the Husband!


View Entire Post ›

Continue Reading