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In the grind of the everyday, it’s not unusual to entertain daydreams about a simpler life. Arnaud Jibaut, Nicolas Giraud and Florian Dupuis were no exception. As they worked together at a web agency in France, they joked about leaving to raise chickens in the countryside — something Jibaut had done for many years in his free time.

IoT Sigfox chicken coops help create a virtuous circle in egg farming.

Bringing chickens back to the home creates a sustainable circle, where the birds are fed partly on food waste and can supply the average person’s yearly egg requirement.

Eventually the joke evolved into something more. Giraud had been working with internet of things (IoT) technologies for some time, and the team began to imagine how they could create a smart chicken coop that would allow people to easily raise hens and collect eggs at home. While the EU upgraded minimum living conditions for laying hens in 2012, many still live out their shortened lives in cramped conditions, and the team believed they could help bring egg production back to the home.

The Eggs-iting Sigfox chicken coop is made out of individual wooden blocks.

A hen house made from connecting blocks allows users to easily expand if they add more chickens. Individual blocks can also be replaced if damaged.

In March 2016, they decided to go for it. They then linked up with Benjamin Boudet, who they knew made high-quality wooden furniture. He joined the team and helped them create a prototype out of wooden blocks, which would allow customers to easily customize and expand the size of their coop. Giraud took on the hardware and electronics, Dupuis the web and mobile platforms and Jibaut the business aspects of the project.

The current prototype of the Eggs-iting chicken coop uses a variety of sensors and cameras to monitor the hens, and transmits data using the Sigfox network. A solar panel on the roof charges a battery, which means it doesn’t need to be connected to a power supply. Sensors measure the brightness, temperature and humidity in the coop, as well as grain and water levels. An RFID reader detects a ring placed on the chicken to determine whether it’s in the nest, and a camera is used to determine how many eggs there are. A motor also allows the door to be opened or close remotely.

Since only small amounts of information can be transmitted through Sigfox, the team created an algorithm that determines how many eggs are in the nest using an image taken by the camera. The resulting number is then transmitted, rather than the image itself.

The Eggs-iting IoT chicken coop uses a platform that resembles social media.Dupuis designed the user interface to have the feel of a social media platform. Not only is there a page for statistics about the coop, but each hen has her own page as well, which features information like laying statistics, age, health records and more. The platform is open source, allowing users to create games and challenges within the community. He is currently designing a mobile app, and the team hopes to release the Egg-siting chicken coop for sale on their website in March.

For more information, visit en.eggs-iting.com.

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