The Real Life Hermit Crab Emotional Happiness Communicator (RLHCEHC)

 Albert

 Nigel

These are my hermit crabs. Albert and Nigel. (Albert is a bit shy.) I love my crabs, and I’d like to be a better crab mom. So, I plan to make a Real Life Hermit Crab Emotional Happiness Communicator, or (RLHCEHC).

The Idea:

The RLHCEHC is a communication system between a helpless caged animal and a busy human. The system tracks the humans care taking behaviors and personifies the crab’s emotional state as the quality of care changes.

Unlike calorie and chore tracking apps, the RLHCEHC can be updated with the simple press of a button, and only when near the pets cage. The user gains a sense of accomplishment by pressing the buttons and positive reinforcement by seeing their pet smile. The caged pet gains the opportunity to reach out and ask for the things that he needs.

Here’s how it will work:

1. Place a small controller box next to Albert & Nigel’s cage. Press a button after completing each of these actions:

- GIVE FOOD

- GIVE WATER

- CLEAN THE CAGE

- LET OUT TO PLAY

2. Record the time elapsed since the last button press in Processing.
Draw a crab in a processing window:

3. If too much has elapsed between button presses the crab will begin to get worried:

4. If WAY too much time has elapsed, he will get sad and sick:

And, he will reach out to you by sending you a text message with his sad face, asking for what he needs:

- Feed Me!

- I’m Thirsty!

- My Cage is Dirty!

- I Wanna Play!

Here are the steps that could be completed:

1. Make the button interface and crab expressions in a Processing sketch

2. Build the buttons box and connect with processing

3. Figure out a way to connect Processing to SMS messaging so that the crab can ask for help. (maybe Twilio?)

4. Only if time allows, I would like to explore making the crab into an Android app so that I can check his emotional happiness on the go!

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