Wireless Arduino cat food dispenser


Reader, [Andres Leon], has two adorable cats with very specific dietary needs. Instead of altering his schedule, he donned his hacking hat and designed a very solid cat food dispenser. The dispenser consists of a rotating drum with a slot in it and a PVC pipe Y-fitting to distribute the food evenly. The brains of the machine is an Arduino Deumillanove and an XBee module. The unit can be controlled by a web interface or it can run completely standalone. [Andres] ran into a problem where the drum’s resistance to turning varied based on how much food was inside. He solved this with a clever laser position indicator. A piece of plywood is lined up with the slot at the top so that whenever the slot is facing up it keeps the laser from shining on a photoresistor. The cats were afraid of the servo noise at first, but now they run to their bowls whenever they hear it.

CATaLOG: RFID cat tracking


Like many pet owners, [Pete] was curious about his little furry friend’s habits while he was gone. He decided to build an RFID tracking system to monitor their positions. This data would then be available on the web.  An Arduino handles the communication of the data, both to twitter and his personal cat tracking site. We were a bit surprised to see that the only data transmitted on the final project was whether the cat was inside or out. We’d like to see a heat map of the cat’s activity in the house.

CatGenie hacking


[ScottSEA] has six cats. As you can imagine, with six cats, a simple litter box just doesn’t cut it. [ScottSEA] uses the CatGenie. While a self cleaning cat toilet is a technical marvel, it has one major drawback. Much like an ink jet printer, it has disposable cartridges. Those cartridges, just ike some print cartridges, have a built in counter that disables them after so many uses. After adding up the totals for six cats worth of cartridge use, [ScottSEA] started hacking. He has posted directions on how to manually refill them, as well as reset the internal counter using an Arduino.

We suggest that he find a way to harness all that cat power for his home electronics. How many watts could you produce per cat?

Haptic RADAR: Electronic whiskers

[thomph-zhu] sent in this interesting project. If you’ve ever wished for cat like senses, you’ll dig this. It’s a set of electronic whiskers – it uses IR to detect nearby objects, and vibrates against your head upon detection. It’s definitely an interesting use of tactile feedback. The initial idea is for construction safety, but this could be useful for plenty of other applications. (Robotic control, etc)