Difference between revisions of "Peek-a-Thief"

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[[Category:Spring 2017 Projects]]
[[Category:Spring 2017 Projects]]
[[Category:Spring 2017 Logs]]

Revision as of 06:48, 6 February 2017


Have you ever tried to look at a Squirrel really closely and maybe even try to take a picture? Doesn't it suck that whenever you get close enough, the squirrels run away? We have learned of the numerous students in the WashU community whose days were ruined because they were not able to capture close up pictures of a squirrel so they can share it to all their friends on social media. We really want to simplify and improve their lives forever.

Introducing: Peek-a-Squirrel, an operating system with the sole purpose of capturing high definition, close up images of these cute critters. Our end goal is to simplify picture taking for everyone, so that no more students have a bad day because of the missed opportunity to take a picture of their favorite animal.

Team Members

  • Michael Pichardo
  • Derick Speltz
  • Will Luer (TA)


  • Sense an animal that comes into an enclosure using the HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors
  • Create an animal friendly environment to take the picture
  • Create a mobile system that can only operate given good weather conditions. This ensure there will be no damage to electrical equipment
  • When triggered by the sensor, take a picture using an 8-Megapixel camera
  • Take these pictures of the animal every second once the animal is within the 0.5 meter range of the enclosure
  • Store picture data locally on Raspberry Pi
    • Stretch Objective: Upload pictures onto social media


  • Design Enclosure using SolidWorks software: Box structure, Sensor placement, camera angle.
  • Luring animals into enclosure: study Squirrel behavior and diet to optimize use of our structure.
  • Construction: Build Enclosure with wood glue, nails etc.
  • Environment: Finding a good location for the system to operate in (minimal foot traffic/ human interaction, good lighting for quality pictures, away from sprinkler systems, etc.)
  • Hardware: Making sure the sensors and camera work and attaching all electrical hardware to enclosure
  • Software: saving all picture data on Raspberry Pi to possibly upload to a social media interface
  • User/ Animal Safety: ensure fire safety from electrical system. Ensuring no harm will be done to squirrel- just giving food and taking pictures.
  • Security from Malicious attacks: The user will not have any interaction with Squirrels. We will ensure to stand 5 meters or more from the squirrels.
  • Privacy Considerations: We are certain the squirrels will not complain of our pictures. No persons will be in the camera range.
  • Operation Costs: Our operation does not cost us anything except time, but we enjoy what we do.


  1. One: 8 MegaPixel Camera for Raspberry Pi: $25.00 + 7.99 (Shipping Charges) [1]
  2. Two: Ranging HC-SR04 Detector Sensors for Raspberry Pi: $6.95 (Amazon Prime = Free Shipping) [2]
  3. One Bottle: Elmer's Carpenter Wood Glue: $6.29 (Amazon Prime = Free Shipping) [3]
  4. One pack: #16-1/2 x 1-5/8 in. White Steel Panel Board Nails (192 nails per pack) (Home Depot) $2.37 [4]
  5. One: 11/32 in x 4 ft x 8ft Rtd Southern Yellow Pine Plywood Sheathing $14.13 (Home Depot) [5]
  6. One: Enterprise CarShare to Home Depot and back for one hour: $5.00 [6]
 Total Budget: $67.73

Gantt Chart


  • We do not know how to upload an image. We tried and it doesn't work.
  • Please check email.