Robotic Pets Test an Automatic Pet Door

Lots of people get a pet and then hack solutions that help them care for their new friend, like an automatic door to provide access to the great outdoors. Then again, some people build the pet door first and then build the pets to test it.

It’s actually not quite as weird as it sounds. [Amir Avni] and his wife attended a recent GeekCon and entered the GeekCon Pets event. GeekCon is a cooperative rather than competitive hackathon that encourages useless builds as a means to foster community and to just have some fun. [Amir] and his wife wanted to build a full-featured automatic pet door, and succeeded – with NFC and an ESP8266, the stepper-powered door worked exactly as planned. But without any actual animal companions to test the system, they had to hack up a few volunteers. They came up with a 3D-printed dog and cat perched atop wireless cars, and with NFC tags dangling from their collars, the door was able to differentiate between the wandering ersatz animals. The video below the break shows the adorable plastic pals in action.

It’s clear from all the pet doors and automatic waterers and feeders we’ve seen that hackers love their pets, but we’re pretty sure this is the first time the pet itself was replaced by a robot. That’s fine for the test environment, but we’d recommend the real thing for production.

[via r/arduino]

8 thoughts on “Robotic Pets Test an Automatic Pet Door

  1. This will never work with real animals. The range of NFC ist far too low, they would need to be trained to put their tag on the reader, with other RFID standards you get a much larger range. So they pet just has to come close to the door and not do something specific.

      1. I’ve seen cats open actual doors. Like, turning the handle and pulling. It’s easy to “train” them to do things they actually want to do. It’s getting them to *obey* that’s hard.

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