Zombunny: Part One

A few years ago, I spent a fiver purchasing an v1 nabaztag ‘Internet Rabbit’ from someone on twitter. The nabaztag was one of the first ‘Internet of Things’ devices, released a decade ago, and was able to monitor your email, read weather reports and news headlines, and rotate its ears for some reason.

Unfortunately, the business of selling internet-connected tat wasn’t quite as evolved in the noughties as it is today, and the original manufacturer filed for bankruptcy in 2011. They were bought out and rebranded as ‘karotz’ soon after, which  has now also shut down.

There is lots of community support for the later generation nabaztags and karotzez, and there are 5 or 6 projects that give a self-hosted nabaztag server.

The problem is, my nabaztag is way too old to be properly supported by those servers, and its missing some of the cool hardware like RFID tags and cameras that the later models had. Since i’m always one to throw good money after bad, there’s one answer to this… BRAIN TRANSPLANT

  • Step one, figure out what I want the bunny to be able to do:
  • Record videos and timelapses for posting to youtube.
  • Stream a video + audio feed out to hangouts.
  • Monitor Twitter and my Email for interesting things.
  • Remind me about calendar appointments.
  • Work from battery power for a few hours.

All shit that my phone can do I know, but my phone isn’t even vaguely bunny shaped so it doesn’t count.

I chose to put a Raspberry Pi A+ into the bunny, as its fast enough to take care of the above, has the lovely camera module, and is pretty low power.

So, first to to see how much room i have within the nabaztag for parts. The answer is LOADS.

I plan on putting the pi in the area where the (massive!) PCMCIA network card used to sit, and making a replacement IO board that’ll mount where the original board sat, plugged directly into the pi’s GPIO. So I ripped out the old board and took some calipers to it to find where the mounting holes, and RGB LEDs sat:

Then translated that into an eagle PCB.  This one just has the ‘fixed position’ bits in place, though I still need to tweak the connectors a bit and add the pi connector.


The next step is to figure out the nabaztag connectors for power input, volume, speaker, ear rotation and feedback.  Join me in part two where i’ll be documenting that!

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