The heart of ptooie is libpcap, which captures packets on network interfaces to be parse later by other programs (in our case a Python script). Normally, network interfaces only respond to packets meant for them, but when an interface is set to promiscuous mode (or monitor mode for some wifi cards) it accepts anything that comes it way. ptooie, and potentially less cute machines, can exploit this and begin capturing other people's network traffic. ptooie is currently set to parse through the collected packets for username, email addresses and passwords sent through HTTP POST requests which are typically sent when completing forms and logging into sites such as Once a password is found, ptooie passes the information gathered to a text-to-speech system that "speaks" out what has been found. While this is happening, a message is sent serial to a PIC microcontroller which controls the display of the bad news (which includes dimming the bloom).

Communication between the computer subsystem and the PIC is handled over serial. The "bloom" is currently handled by pulse-width modulation, where the light intensity is set by the "health" of ptooie and the where network it's planted. As the health decreases, the superbrites in the bud of the flower are dimmed accordingly. We're working out the issues with the wilting motions, but we're leaning towards servo motors.

computer subsystem

Epia mII-1000 mini-itx board


flower mechanics