I also gave a talk about this project on the Hackaday Superconference 2015. There is a video available of that if you'd rather watch me talk. You can also directly view the end result if you so please.
As some of you may know, I recently moved from the Netherlands to Shanghai. In the long term, this is great for my hobby: I got a fair amount of stuff out of China anyway, and me moving there meant I wouldn't have to wait a month for it to arrive anymore. In the short term, my ability to build things took somewhat of a hit, though: aside from my oscilloscope and some small bits and bobs I thought I would have a hard time getting in China, I left most of my electronic stuff back in the Netherlands, with the idea that I would be able to buy myself most stuff anew when I had the time.
Now, I do most of my hobby projects because I like a challenge, and doing something technical without the actual need to finish it with a certain deadline has certain stress-relieving aspects to it. There certainly was enough stress in the first few weeks I was in China: I had to get a whole stack of permits, licenses, papers with stamps on it, etcetera in order to be able to work and live there. After that died down and I had a place to live, I wanted to start a new project again. But what to do? I still hadn't have a chance to re-buy my hardware hacking stuff yet.
At around the same time, the webcomix xkcd ran a strip called 'The Tamagotchi Hive'. It basically describes a sort of Matrix, but for Tamagotchis: a lot of Tamagotchis are being cared for by an artificial intelligence, then networked so they can live in some sort of virtual world and be happy.
There is a rule of sorts on the Internet, saying that most XKCD comics that can be implemented in real life, will be implemented in real life. There are a fair few examples of that already. I decided that now was my chance to be the one to do it.
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