Tag Archives: Tamagotchi

Petduino is an Arduino-powered virtual pet

Arduino + Tamagotchi = Petduino 

Who could ever forget everyone’s beloved virtual pet of the ‘90s, the Tamagotchi? Inspired by his own childhood experience with the toy, Maker Matt Brailsford decided to put a new spin on the old concept by developing a digital companion that you could actually build and configure yourself.


At the heart of the aptly named Petduino lies an Arduino Nano (ATmega328), which can be programmed using the standard Arduino IDE and the custom Petduino Arduino library. The device itself consists of an 8×8 LED matrix for its face and notifications, a pair of tactile buttons mounted for interaction, a light and temperature sensor for detecting its surroundings, a red LED for status messages, a buzzer for a voice, as well as an assortment of ears for choosing which type of “animal” you want your Petduino to be.


According to Brailsford, Petduino was conceived as a fun way to teach young Makers various skills like soldering, coding, animation, music and sensors. Each kit will ship as a collection of simple through-hole electrical components, circuit boards and laser-cut parts that can be easily assembled with nothing more than a basic understanding of soldering. So whether you’re a kid looking to begin tinkering or an adult wanting to spark some Tamagotchi nostalgia, Petduino is perfect for everyone! Head over to its official page to learn more.

Video: This giant LED Tamagotchi hearts Atmel

The Tamagotchi (たまごっち?) is a handheld digital pet, originally designed in Japan by Akihiro Yokoi of WiZ and Aki Maita of Bandai way back in 1996. According to Wikipedia, well over 76 million Tamagotchis have been sold world-wide.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The majority of Tamagotchis are housed in a small egg-shaped computer with an interface (typically) consisting of three buttons, although the number of buttons may vary.

However, a Maker by the name of Vadim recently decided to create a unique, desktop-sized Tamagotchi using a spare LED matrix and an Atmel ATmega328P microcontroller (MCU) with an Arduino bootloader.

As HackADay’s James Hobson reports, the LED matrix comprises four 8×8 LED modules with four shift registers (74HC595) and two Darlington transistor arrays to take the current.

“This is because the 256 LEDs need to be multiplexed down to 32 IO’s (16 rows + 16 columns),” he explained.

After the hardware was deemed operational, Vadim started work on the coding side of things, writing the entire game from scratch.

“While it’s not that complex it’s still an impressive amount of effort that went into this desktop- sized Tamagotchi!” Hobson added.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.