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The ooctopus (open octopus) is a device to monitor and control artificial biospheres and managed ecosystems, microhabitats with animals and/or plants. Ooctopus comes with presets for many types of these controlled micro-climate environments, but it can adapt to a wide variety of use cases due to its open architecture and compatibility with many existing controllers, sensors and modules.

Monitor and control your reef or fresh water aquarium, terrarium, insectarium, formicarium, paludarium, and more.

Measure and influence the climate and nutrition solution for your plants and/or animals in your hydroponics, aeroponics or aquaponics setup.

You’re brewing your own beer? Or do you want your herbs to be cured with special humidity cycles? You need more control over your urban farm? You want to create special light cycles and zones over your reef but every lamp comes with its own incompatible software? Ooctopus might be perfect for you.

The ooctopus lets you measure and visualize sensor data, gives you new insights with new ways of data visualizations, controls attached actuators to influence physical and chemical properties, lets you share your system behaviors, rules & data and lets you use other peoples creations easily.

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Hook up many types of sensors and log the physical and chemical properties of water, air, earth or any other medium. Use third-party USB-sensors, compatible sensor devices, sensor modules of other controller systems.

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Logged data is not just displayed, but actually visualized using newest interactive technologies for information vizualisation. Zooming, overlays, combinations of different timeframes and sensors allow deep insight into the logged data.

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Historical & actual measurement data, manual event triggers (e.g. water changes, fertilizing, harvest, new animals), events from web-services (e.g. weather data) and rule-based triggers, are all combined in an interactive and browsable view. This will help you to get a new understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes in your managed ecosystem. You’ll better understand how your system works and how you can react before things go wrong to keep your plants growing and/or animals healthy.

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Many of the physical and chemical properties of a managed ecosystem can be manipulated and controlled automatically. E.g. change E.C. with fertilizer, switch on a heater or cooler to change temperature, add and mix fluids to adjust nutrients, inject CO2 to lower PH, open and close valves to change water levels, dim or switch lamps, and many more. Hook up your hardware, most probably ooctopus already knows how to deal with it – wether it’s a simple on/off device or even if it needs a special communication protocol to interact with it.

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You’re the first to attach a certain piece of hardware to the ooctopus? You’ve created some great behaviors and rules for it? You can share it easily via the ooctopus mobile app.

You like something someone else has created with ooctopus? If they shared their creations publicly, you can download the behaviors, rules, protocols, and drivers directly to your ooctopus using the mobile app.

The ooctopus UI let’s you setup and program the controller using a web browser or mobile app. The ooctopus UI abstracts all options of connected devices into one simple interface. To create behaviors we have four basic elements: biospheresensors, algorithms and actors. Using these, you can create complex logic using the drag-and-drop interface.

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A biosphere describes one aquarium, one zone in your grow box, a green house. It is an element to organize and distinguish your managed ecosystems. The ooctopus can manage unlimited biospheres. So wether you have one reef aquarium or a store full of tanks, wether you have one hydroponic system or a grow room with dozens of zones, one plant to care of or multiple greenhouses – you’ll only need one ooctopus.

The following elements, sensor, algorithm, actor, are assigned to one or multiple biospheres.

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Sensors can be physical sensors, for example a temperature or PH probe. Almost endless types of sensors are available. In the ooctopus UI they look and behave the same, wether they’re connected directly via USB, connected to an arduino communicating via serial or even attached to another device connected by WiFi.

But there are also virtual sensors like time-based triggers (timers), timed cycles, web-services (e.g. weather data, current energy cost, and many more). Actors – or the output of a rule can also act as an sensor input.

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Algorithms connect sensors to actors and create behaviors of the system. Examples of such algorithms are: a simple on/off control of an actor with hysteresis, a more complex PID (proportional-integral-derivative) controller, chronological sequences (curves) of desired values of a parameter (e.g. sunrise, sunset, humidity curve), boolean logic (if-then-else, AND, OR, XOR, etc).

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Actors are devices that create action; devices that can be switched on/off or dimmed (lights, pumps, fans, etc); devices with an analog or digital output state.

Virtual actors do also exist. This can be sending an alarm email, tweeting a message, call a web-service. Actors can also trigger the previously described sensors.

Ooctopus is based on our Watermelon IoT Board and thus comes with lots of hardware features, connection possibilities and networking capabilities.

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Open in many ways: Hardware and Software are open source (CC BY-SA), open for new use-cases and applications, open for everyone to add functionality

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Built-in LiPo battery to power the ooctopus and attached devices during power outages

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Attach a screen (up to 1080p) to the HDMI connector


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Comes with many predefined scenes, use-cases and behaviors to get you started quickly – absolutely no programming skills required, even for advanced usage.

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While lots of features are included, we’re sure some of you want it to do even more or different things. Go ahead and hack the ooctopus, it’s been designed to be opened, studied, understood and changed by you.

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Interact with your ooctopus via your mobile phone or tablet from all over the world.


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Most of the software is implemented in Node.js. Node-RED nodes help the unexperienced user to edit existing or create new features.

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8 USB ports (battery-backed in case of interrupted mains power), SPI, I2C, GPIO

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WiFi (802.11n), 100Mbit Ethernet, Bee socket for Digi’s XBee modules, or one of the many Bee-compatible wireless-modules such as RF, Bluetooth, GPS, and more.


Many traditional controllers implement a lot of their features in hardware or on micro-controllers and low-level code. With ooctopus however, we shift most of the logic, behaviors, rules, protocol implementations, etc. to high-level technologies (Node.js, Node-RED, Python) and thus opening it up for a lot more people to change and extend its capabilities.

Not like most of our competitors, we don’t try to create a closed ecosystem around our products. On the contrary, ooctopus aims to be compatible with many other systems and components so you can continue using your existing hardware. Continue reading to learn more about our philosophy of compatibility.

Ooctopus aims to be compatible with as many competitive systems and existing components as possible. Not all the modules listed here will be compatible from the beginning, but we plan to continuously add support for these and more modules. We’ll also setting up a reward system: you can get paid (in hardware, bitcoin or EUR/USD/CHF) if you can make a module compatible or implement a protocol using the SDK we provide.

  • Library to make your Arduino-based DIY-module communicate with the ooctopus easily
  • Open Reef Products
  • Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Modules
  • Neptune Systems  Apex Modules (needs additional adapter which is in development)
  • ReefAngel Modules
  • GHL Profilux
  • Vernier Sensors
  • Yoctopuce Sensors
  • Many LED-drivers and light controllers, pumps, IP power plugs, relay-boards etc.
  • Whatever you can hook up to USB, I2C, SPI, RS-232, TCP/IP, GPIO, 802.11n, XBee, Bluetooth and more

The ooctopus is Open Source Hardware (OSHW). Its schematic, PCB layout and software are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). The CAD sources will soon be available so you can study, modify, distribute, make and even sell derivatives of the ooctopus. There’s no non-commercial restriction.

Read more about us and our company philosophy

However, the trade mark “ooctopus” and the design of the enclosure remain intellectual property of Whitebox Labs and can’t be used in your derivatives.


Do you want to be informed as soon as we receive the first prototype batch of the ooctopus?

We’re currently looking for BETA testers – makers, nature enthusiasts, embedded system developers, aquaristic nerds, indoor gardeners. Use the contact form on the right if you’re interested in our BETA program starting mid 2016.

We respect your privacy. We will NOT share your information, Period.