The UV Budgie - A Fun IoT Alert For UV Solar Rays

Explorations in living for IoT devices that give your family interactive alerts on API data - well in advance.

Similar projects worth following
The UV Budgie is an automata bird, which flaps and squawks depending on the peak UV level of the day - prompting you or your kid(s) to pack suncream, hats, etc. - and giving a fair estimate of the maximum time you should have fun in the sun. Even on an overcast day, UV can be high, with 80% of the cancer-causing rays getting through!

Although 'there is an App for that', as a parent of a 5 year old, Apps are not something I'm keen to liberally introduce, when a physical object would do as well, if not better.

It builds on the hardware of the Good Air Canary IoT device, (an Air Quality Alert Device I also made for DesignSpark), but uses an API from the UK's Met Office to look up the Weather and UV reading - not just for today - but for a few days ahead.

This is a Part 1, of hopefully more devices to come...

The WHO estimates that between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year, and this is on the rise with Ozone Layer depletion.

Another remarkable statistic is that 80%of UV Rays penetrate clouds, so just because it's overcast, does not mean you cannot damage your skill seriously.

These two stats alone made me feel I needed to take things more seriously for myself as an adult, but as a parent, the effects are of course more serious for kids, with even a UV rating of '3' (pretty low on a scale up to 11) needing attention.

This meant that I wanted to keep my son safe, but also not feel a 'nag' in reminding him to put on hats, and put on suncream...I figured a talking Budgie might get through to him better!

The project of the UV Budgie is essentially a new adaptation of the core IoT Hardware (and automata mechanics) from the DesignSpark project I did with RS Components. The Air Quality Canary started off by alerting you to air pollution, including CO2 if working in a small/stuffy room all day, as many of us do in office or at home! From this, co-developer Pete Milne helped repurpose the code such that the IoT device 'looked up' the weather warning data from the UK Met Office.

Although this is a UK specific cite, it is of course possible to 'point' the API to anything, and it's hoped that the Hackaday community are a good bunch of people to test this out with - all around the world! So please have a go and let us know if this helps you and/or your kids be more UV-aware!


Print at 0.6mm 'standard' nozzle or finer. Yellow PLA.

Zip Archive - 616.48 kB - 08/30/2022 at 17:35



Print at 0.6mm 'standard' nozzle or finer. White PLA.

Zip Archive - 597.36 kB - 08/30/2022 at 17:35


  • 1 × See BOM in Build Instructions. Any questions - please ask =)

  • Skin Types vs UV Exposure

    jude_pullen08/30/2022 at 21:22 0 comments

    The IoT device needs to give a universal index, such that the users in a given place can respond accordingly.

    Given I live in a home where my wife and so have different race/skin tones to me, this is especially interesting from a UI/UX perspective as we all need to infer the right response, even though our protection levels will differ. 

  • Working with API from Met Office

    jude_pullen08/30/2022 at 21:05 0 comments

    Success - on a very hot day!

  • Exploring GUI

    jude_pullen08/30/2022 at 20:55 0 comments

    Working through the technical side of UV risk, with how to display on an eInk display.

    Certainly tricky to get all the info in, and refresh the screen so it's all clear.

View all 3 project logs

  • 1
    Bill of Materials

    3D Printing:

    • 3D Printer (or able to print files via LINK below).
    • White PLA Filament (832-0223) (+ 1 Alternative Colour, e.g. Yellow (832-0232)
    • Printer Nozzles of 0.6mm, though 0.4mm will also be fine.

    Fixtures & Fittings:

    Electronic Components:


    • Arduino Nano 33 IoT (192-7589)
    • Adafruit 16-Channel 12-bit PWM/Servo Driver (LINK)
    • Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board + 2x2W Amp (LINK)
    • 70x90mm Double Sided Protoboard (LINK)
    • 20x44mm Double Sided Protoboard (Likely as part of any set/stock of the above)


    • Wire for PCB Wiring-up.
    • SuperGlue (1x3g tube will be ample).
    • Sellotape / Masking Tape.
    • Cocktail Sticks.
    • Sandpaper (suggested 400, 600, 1000 grit)

    Generic Tools:

    • Soldering Iron, Soder, etc.
    • Mini Hand Files - Flat, Round, Square (for metal, and plastic filing).
    • Mini Blowtorch (or soldering iron) - to insert Brass Inserts.
    • Hex 2.5mm Key / Driver (for Screws).
    • Scalpel / Craft Knife.
    • Calipers.
    • Hot Melt Glue Gun.
    • Drill/Handdrill with 1.5mm, 3.0mm, 3.5mm, 4.0mm drill bits.

    Disclosure: this project has been build as part of content creation for DesignSpark, as part of RS Components. However, as you will see, as mix of suppliers has been used, and although favouring RS is not limited to only. The part numbers will help you source them from other suppliers should you wish to / can't get in your country. Thanks. 

  • 2
    GitHub Repos & External Links
  • 3
    Timelapse of Build Overview

    Overview - so you know what you're letting yourself in for. 

    In all honestly I think this needs about 2 weekends to make - one for the build, and the other for the code.

View all 3 instructions

Enjoy this project?



Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates