Unleashing #PugProse with the Pi Cap

A talking wearable for your four legged friend

pug with wearable electronics pug prose


If you’ve ever wished you could communicate with your pet, then you have something in common with Bibi, Aslak and Szymon. We ran a Pi Cap workshop in late July to find out what people would do when equipped with our latest product, the Pi Cap, and they were one of the teams invited to participate.

The Pi Cap is a Raspberry Pi add-on which allows you to add precise capacitive touch, proximity sensing and high quality audio to your Raspberry Pi projects. It works with the Raspberry Pi A+, B+, Zero and later (any Raspberry Pi with a 40 pin GPIO connector). With the sensing precision of the Touch Board, and the computing power of the Raspberry Pi, the Pi Cap has is a great tool for transforming physical inputs to digital outputs.

When given the opportunity to test our fully featured libraries and online tutorials, Bibi, Aslak and Szymon decided they’d use the Pi Cap to give Rory – the office pug – the ability to speak. Using a Pi Zero and our Polyphonic Touch MP3 and Text to Speech code examples, they wrote a program that would give Rory a voice when he laid down, got stroked, or when anyone tweeted to the hashtag #PugProse.

Needless to say, the project got a great reaction from the crowd, not only because of the amazing outfit, but because it was a great example of how the Pi Cap and Pi Zero could be used to create a small portable wearable.


Want to hear what Rory has to say?

Watch as Bibi explains the project in detail and see how #PugProse was created in this video.

The team started by discussing the Pi Cap’s features and the reviewing the existing code examples in the Pi Cap intro. Rory must have caught their eye, because they decided to focus on him as the subject of their project.

They decided to use the Pi Cap’s 12 capacitive touch electrodes to create a series of sensors to trigger different sounds. Some sensors were placed beneath his chest and some on his back. They used conductive thread to embed the sensors directly into his fashionable turquoise outfit. The objective was to trigger different outputs based on different interactions.

In order to assemble the harness the team used conductive thread and fabric. They sowed conductive patches onto a piece of felt, to create the different buttons for the back and chest sensors.

They used a lasercutter to cut out a box to fit in the Pi Cap, Pi Zero, battery, and speaker, and then attached this to his harness.


The outcome? #PugProse!

When stroked, Rory issued romantic or loving phrases, when he lay down he uttered existential observations, and when tweeted at hashtag #PugProse he read out the tweets! An incredible output for only 5 hours of work.

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